albania euro 2016
Can the minnows get past the favourites? Pictured: Euro 2016 - Albania Training - Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens, France - 10/6/16 - Albania's coach Gianni De Biasi (C) during training.Reuters

The Euro 2016 saw a dramatic start as France just edged past Romania with a 2-1 result right at the death in the first match of the competition on Friday. The tone of the event may have been set and it needs to be seen what the second match of the tournament has in store for us.

In the second fixture from Group A, Albania take on Switzerland at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens on Saturday. Switzerland are tipped as clear favourites in the game, in terms of being stronger and the FIFA ranking. Contrary to Albania's 42nd ranking in the world, Switzerland are ranked 15 at the moment.

The presence of star names like Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri also make the Swiss team, coached by Vladimir Petkovic, look a better side on paper and one of the favourites to top the group. They might be coming into the game at the back of two consecutive defeats in friendly games, Petkovic's side might just use the best of their experience to give a good result in the grand stage.

"The first couple of games are always hard to predict. There are always so many emotions involved – particularly in this match," mentioned Petkovic in the pre-match press conference, as quoted by the UEFA. "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."

Albania have a lot of players with Swiss links and it will be interesting to see whether they show respect to each other in the match or go for the kill right from the start. The match will reunite the Xhaka brothers — Granit and Taulant Xhaka of Albania. 

"The game will be really difficult, like all opening games, because there is the factor of added pressure," explained Albania coach Gianni De Biasi. "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."

Albania doesn't look too likely to make it to the knockout stages when there is the presence of teams like Romania, Switzerland and hosts France in the group. Biasi also feels it will be a surprise if their team qualifies. "If we manage to get through the group stage it would be a surprise," the Italy-born coach added.

For Albania, defender Lorik Cana and winger Odise Roshi remain the key players.

Where to watch live

Euro 2016: Albania vs Switzerland is scheduled for a 2 p.m. BST (6:30 p.m. IST, 9 a.m. EST) start on June 11, 2016.


India: Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD, Sony Six, Sony Six HD.

United Kingdom: BBC One.

United States of America: ESPN 3 USA, ESPN Deportes TV.

France: beIN Sports 1, beIN Sports 2, TFI.

Switzerland: RTS Sport.

Albania: SuperSport 2.


India: Sony Liv.

US: Watch ESPN.

France: Bein Sports Connect France.

UK: None.

Switzerland: None.

Albania: None.

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