Preview: Albania v Switzerland
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Switzerland boss Vladimir Petković says he wants people to talk about his side "for many years to come" but warns that Albania, with so many Swiss links, are a big threat.
Article top media content
- Albania make their major tournament debut on the second day of UEFA EURO 2016
- Albania's Taulant Xhaka set to face his brother, Switzerland midfielder Granit – a EURO first
- Ten of Albania's squad were born or grew up in Switzerland
- Switzerland have won five of the teams' previous six meetings, drawing one
- France and Romania kick off Group A on Friday, the tournament opener
Albania: Berisha; Hysaj, Cana, Mavraj, Agolli; Kukeli, Xhaka, Roshi, Abrashi, Lenjani; Sadiku.
Switzerland: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Djourou, Rodríguez; Behrami, Džemaili, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Seferović, Mehmedi.
Gianni De Biasi, Albania coach
The game will be really difficult, like all opening games, because there is the factor of added pressure. It is a strange game where footballers of Albanian origin will play against each other. There are two brothers that play for two different countries. It will be a massive game for us.
If we manage to get through the group stage it would be a surprise. For me, success would be our people being as proud of us at the end of this competition as they are now at the beginning. I would like to say that all our players have honoured the shirt, that they have given 110% and fought together – it made all the difference in qualifying.
Vladimir Petković, Switzerland coach
The first couple of games are always hard to predict. There are always so many emotions involved – particularly in this match. It's our aim to make history together, but it will be difficult. Hopefully people back home will be talking about this team for many years to come.
Our aim is clear: to play better than Albania and win the game. To do that, we need to keep our cool and remain focused. Albania are defensively sound and very well-organised so we need to make sure we capitalise on their mistakes.
UEFA.com team reporters
Fatjon Pandovski, Albania (@UEFAcomTonyP)
Inexperience at this level could be a factor, especially in this first match. Captain Lorik Cana and Mërgim Mavraj have plenty of savvy in central defence, yet could have their hands full against a quick, skilful Swiss team. The tireless Amir Abrashi will anchor a hard-working midfield, despite missing much of the first week of training with some minor injuries. Can Armando Sadiku find the net for a fourth straight Albania game?
Matthew Howarth, Switzerland (@UEFAcomMattH)
Petković's troops would do well not to underestimate the tournament debutants – several of whom either own a Swiss passport or ply their trade in Switzerland's top tier. Eintracht Frankfurt striker Haris Seferović is back in contention after skipping the friendly victory over Moldova through suspension and could supply the fire power the Nati require to get their Group A campaign off to a winning start.
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Did you know?
The teams met twice in 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying, De Biasi's Albania losing 2-0 in Lucerne and 2-1 in Tirana to Ottmar Hitzfeld's men. Xherdan Shaqiri, one of several players with Kosovar-Albanian roots, scored for Switzerland in both games. Find more nuggets like this in our in-depth match background.
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