Albania has made it into their first big international tournament ever after securing a place in Euro 2016 after ending second in qualification Group I.
Albania beat Armenia 3-0 to go pass Denmark for the second spot in the group and an automatic spot to the tournament next summer in France.
“This qualification is historic,” Albania’s FA president, Armando Duka, told The Guardian. “We did not deserve the defeats at home [to Portugal in September and Serbia on Thursday]. We do not have a team of superstars, but they have heart and a collective spirit.“
Albania were forced to win the final game after suffering a 2-0 loss to Serbia on Thursday. Albania finished second in Group I on 14 points, seven points behind winner Portugal, but two ahead of third-placed Denmark who will now have to go to the qualification playoffs. Albania finished the qualification group stage with a 4-2-2 record.
Albania’s national team coach Gianni De Biasi, added: “It was not easy after the defeat with Serbia. We felt the pressure, but the boys played extremely well. I wish the country grows having these boys as an example.
“Few people believed we could have made it in the beginning, but we all made it. We all contributed to this achievement. The renewal of my contract is automatic. The figures need to change though.”
Albania were fortunate to go up early against Armenia after an own goal by Kamo Hovhannisyan in the 9th minute. Berat Djimsiti made it 2-0 in the 24th minute, and Armando Sadiku scored the final goal of the game in the 76th minute.