Platini: I would like to see Albania in EURO 2016

Platini had the honor to address the FSHF general assembly with the opening speech. “Faleminderit Shqiperi (Thank you Albania),” saluted Platini in the Albanian language.” Even though Albania is a small country, it has great passion and love for the

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Albanian teams to have more chances to play Champions League

One of the strongest points of Platini’s campaign for the UEFA throne was to help small countries to have more teams in the group stages of the UEFA and Champions League. It was probably the reason that helped Platini attract

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KS Tirana beats AC Milan 2-1 in a charity match in Tirana

TIRANA, Oct 15 – Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was upbeat despite his side losing 2-1 to Albanian minnows FK Tirana in a charity friendly on Tuesday night. Italian football legend, AC Milan, teamed up in an exhibition game with K.F.

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Milan to play charity game in Albania

TIRANA, Sep 29 – Seven-time European champion AC Milan has agreed to participate in a match for the charity UNICEF, a friendly in Albania in mid-October. According to AC Milan’s website, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will play against KF Tirana at

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Albania stuns Sweden in Tirana

Traditional tournament team Sweden found the going tough in Tirana as a solid Albania side held them to a goalless draw inside the Qemal Stafa Stadium. Despite having established stars such as Henrik Larsson (winning his 100th cap as captain),

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Pacesetters catching the eye

Six days into UEFA EURO 2008™ and a number of sides have already signalled their intentions with commanding performances in Austria and Switzerland. Portugal purr The Netherlands brought the tournament to life with a stunning 3-0 win against world champions

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Poland 1-0 Albania

An early goal by Maciej Zurawski was sufficient for Poland to gain a narrow victory against Albania in Reutlingen as they continued their preparations for UEFA EURO 2008™. Early opener Zurawski wasted no time in giving his side the lead,

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UEFA & FIFA suspend Albania

TIRANA, March 19 – UEFA published the following statement with regard to the situation with the Football Association of Albania (FSF), based on the decision taken by the FIFA Executive Committee on 14 March to suspend the association under the

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FIFA threatens Albania of suspension

ZURICH, Switzerland, Feb. 25 – A senior UEFA official said that Albania could likely be suspended from international soccer activities unless the government stopped interfering in the local association. UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said in a telephone interview with The

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Albania moves up in FIFA ranks, though no matches played

TIRANA, Feb. 13 – Albania ranked seven places higher in the FIFA ranking list to 73 from 80 in January with 421 points, or 14 more than a month ago. The team also played friendly matches while in Antalya, Turkey

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                    [post_content] => Platini had the honor to address the FSHF general assembly with the opening speech. 
"Faleminderit Shqiperi (Thank you Albania)," saluted Platini in the Albanian language." Even though Albania is a small country, it has great passion and love for the game of football. And our goal is to help such countries."
According to Platini, one of the latest UEFA decisions was to raise the number of participating national teams in the final phase of the European competition from 16 to 24.
"The final phase of EURO 2016 will have 24 teams instead of 16. This decision was taken in order to help smaller nations to achieve more. I won't be surprised if Albania will be one of the countries to qualify to the finals of EURO 16."
At the end of his speech, Platini congratulated FSHF for the latest progress in Albanian football and the achievements of the national team in the international stage, among which the surprise draw with Portugal in Braga.

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                    [post_content] => One of the strongest points of Platini's campaign for the UEFA throne was to help small countries to have more teams in the group stages of the UEFA and Champions League. It was probably the reason that helped Platini attract the votes of the smaller nations during the presidential elections, including Albania. 
"We have to clearly define our relationships in the football family, our relations with clubs and players," said the UEFA president. "We have created a new group stage for the Champions League where smaller countries will have more opportunities to compete. Albania is one those countries that can benefit from the new scheme." 
It is two years now that Platini works to bring to life his idea of a more pan-European Champions League, with more teams in the final phases.  The Platini plan has received fierce resistance from the top European clubs who have threatened UEFA with the creation of their own European league for clubs. 
On the other hand, Albanian clubs have always suffered elimination in the early qualifying stages of European competitions in the last two decades.



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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct 15 - Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was upbeat despite his side losing 2-1 to Albanian minnows FK Tirana in a charity friendly on Tuesday night.
Italian football legend, AC Milan, teamed up in an exhibition game with K.F. Tirana at Qemal Stafa Stadium in support of Albania Reads an initiative that supports the establishment of libraries in public schools and a movement that promotes the culture of reading among school children. 
The Rossoneri welcomed back Alessandro Nesta and Filippo Inzaghi but the latter has been crocked again after injuring his leg following a challenge with Albanian goalkeeper Blendi Nallbani.
The Albanian's took the lead through Xhafa before Musaka made it 2-0. Ronaldinho grabbed a consolation at full time.
"It was a good training exercise for us and I saw some good performances from individual players," said the coach after the game.
"Ronaldinho is getting better all the time but Nesta and Inzaghi were also good. The injury to Inzaghi is not serious, it was just a knock.
"Nesta to play against Samp? Maybe but we have to wait and see.
"I saw the will to win and a certain anger to bounce back so it was good. We just lacked something in the final third."
Thanks to the contribution by AC Milan, UNICEF and partners have committed to opening libraries in an additional 100 schools. 
The Albania Reads initiative is helping to improve the quality of teaching and learning of reading - improving children's reading achievement. To date, 1,270 school libraries have been provided by the generous support of the private sector - Ikea Foundation, Vodafone Foundation, Raiffeisen Bank and AMC.
The exhibition game between AC Milan was sponsored by Taci Oil and the Sheraton Tirana Hotel Towers to benefit the Albania Reads initiative. 
UNICEF global initiative "Check Out for Children" has raised over $21 million worldwide for its programmes. 

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TIRANA, Sep 29 - Seven-time European champion AC Milan has agreed to participate in a match for the charity UNICEF, a friendly in Albania in mid-October.
According to AC Milan's website, Carlo Ancelotti's men will play against KF Tirana at the Qemal Stafa Stadium on October 14.
KF Tirana currently stands at the top of the Albanian Superliga after only four games.
The game is part of UNICEF's 'Albania Reads' project, aimed at promoting literacy among Albanian children in remote areas.
The project is expected to raise enough funds to open 850 school libraries as Albanian schools frequently suffer from lack of books


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                    [post_content] => Traditional tournament team Sweden found the going tough in Tirana as a solid Albania side held them to a goalless draw inside the Qemal Stafa Stadium.
Despite having established stars such as Henrik Larsson (winning his 100th cap as captain), Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kim Kallstrom in their starting line-up, the Scandinavians were unable to find a way past Albanian keeper Beqaj.

Ibrahimović denied
Zlatan Ibrahimović hit the post and Larsson went close twice, but the home side had their share of the chances in Tirana as new coach Arie Haan was able to maintain his record of never losing his competitive debut in charge of any team.
Injury woes
Already missing the injured Christian Wilhelmsson, Anders Svensson and Johan Elmander, Sweden lost Tobias Linderoth to a knock within five minutes and were put on the back foot as Jahmir Hyka and Klodian Duro forced saves from goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson. The Scandinavian side responded with swift counterattacks and Ibrahimović's shot rattled the woodwork in the 15th minute. Larsson also threatened a breakthrough after 32 minutes and did so again just before the hour mark, before Ibrahimović was denied by Albania goalkeeper Arjan Beqaj.

Haan satisfied
Dutchman Haan, a former Cameroon and China coach, said: "I have never lost my first match with any of the national teams I have coached, and I didn't expect to do so today. Our players played very well technically and tactically and didn't give Sweden space. I am very happy with the draw. It was a well-deserved point and it was a fair result for both teams."

Albania: Beqaj, Lala, Dallku, Curri, Bakaj, Skela (Agolli 84), Salihi (Berisha 75), Hyka, Duro, Vangjeli, Cana

Sweden: Isaksson, Andersson, Majstorovic, Mellberg, Hansson, Wendt (Stoor 78), Nilsson, Kallstrom (Holmen 84), Linderoth (S. Larsson 6) H. Larsson, Ibrahimovic

                    [post_title] =>  Albania stuns Sweden in Tirana 
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                    [post_content] => Six days into UEFA EURO 2008™ and a number of sides have already signalled their intentions with commanding performances in Austria and Switzerland.
Portugal purr
The Netherlands brought the tournament to life with a stunning 3-0 win against world champions Italy while Spain laid down their marker with an impressive 4-1 rout of Russia. Portugal, backed by their army of vocal supporters, are also starting to purr and with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of his game will take some beating.
Ballack goes Dutch
Among the players, opinion is split over which side looks strongest with Spain and the Netherlands drawing admiring glances from across Austria and Switzerland. "I was really impressed by the Dutch victory against Italy, the world champions," said Germany captain Michael Ballack, whose side kicked off with a 2-0 win against Poland. "They played on a high technical level with fast football. But there are some other teams, like us, who had a good start in the tournament, as well."
Spain applauded
Not surprisingly Italy defender Fabio Grosso was also taken aback by the Netherlands, but fancies Spain's chances too. "I have seen all the teams so far and the Netherlands are certainly among the best sides here," he said. "They played well and earned a crushing victory against us. But Spain played a great match against Russia so they are the ones to watch. Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic concurred. The FC Internazionale Milano man scored a terrific goal in his side's 2-0 win against Greece but is already looking ahead to Saturday's showdown with Group D leaders Spain. "Everybody knows how strong Spain are," he said. "I saw part of their [opening] game. They play technical football, the way I like to play."
'Attractive football'
Greece defender Vassilis Torosidis also has Luis Aragonés's side on the mind. "So far I have been impressed with Spain," he said. "They play attractive football and their movement is of a high quality. They are direct in their attacking game, pacy, and have high-calibre strikers with excellent finishing skills. It will not be easy to face them."
Portugal praise
Netherlands goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, was keeping his side's defeat of Italy in perspective as he talked up Portugal's chances. "I'm not surprised Portugal have already qualified for the quarter-finals," he said. "I already knew before the tournament how good they are and they have played very well here." Spain coach Aragonés agrees. "Because we often train at 6pm, and then eat after we finish, I and my players are by no means seeing all the teams in action. Germany, as always, look good. I really liked Sweden's performance in their first match even though [Johan] Elmander was missing. However the best displays of the tournament so far have been Portugal".
Carvalho calm
Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho, though, was looking to play down expectations on his side. "There are teams that are bigger favourites then Portugal. Of course we have good players, and I think as a team we showed we can go far, but there are always teams that show up very strong. And then you also still have Spain, Germany, France apart from the game not going very well [against Romania]." Czech Republic coach Karel Brükner was even more succinct when asked to name the best team so far. "The Netherlands." Who do you think have shone the brightest? Have your say below.
                    [post_title] =>  Pacesetters catching the eye  
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                    [post_content] => An early goal by Maciej Zurawski was sufficient for Poland to gain a narrow victory against Albania in Reutlingen as they continued their preparations for UEFA EURO 2008™.
Early opener
Zurawski wasted no time in giving his side the lead, striking in the third minute following a long throw-in by Marcin Wasilewski. The goal was Poland's 1,200th goal in international football. The hosts should have added to their tally but were profligate in front of goal after creating several further opportunities.
Denmark date
Striker Euzebiusz Smolarek was not concerned by their failure to win by a greater margin. "We could have been better, but I see this as training," he said. Poland return to action on 1 June when they face Denmark in Chorzow before heading off to the finals where they are in Group B alongside Germany, Croatia and co-hosts Austria.
Poland: Fabianski, Wasilewski, Bak, Zewlakow (Kokoszka 9), Wawrzyniak, Lobodzinski (Saganowski 80), Lewandowski, Dudka (Pazdan 81), Guerreiro (Smolarek 46), Krzynowek (Murawski 81), Zurawski (Zahorski 61).
Albania: Hidi, Lila (Vrapi 46), Dallku, Curri, Vangjeli, Duro (Hyka 46), Skela, Lala (Bulku 71), Cana, Salihi (Bylykbashi 80), Bogdani (Kapllani 46).

                    [post_title] =>  Poland 1-0 Albania 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 19 - UEFA published the following statement with regard to the situation with the Football Association of Albania (FSF), based on the decision taken by the FIFA Executive Committee on 14 March to suspend the association under the terms of Article 14 of the FIFA Statutes. At the recommendation of the FIFA Associations Committee, FIFA decided to suspend the FA of Albania due to significant political interference. Consequently, the matter will be reported to UEFA's Executive Committee at its forthcoming meeting in Vaduz, Liechtenstein on 28 March 2008.
In order to ensure compliance with the FIFA decision, the following measures have been taken:
The FSF may play neither friendly nor official competition matches.
In particular, the UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 1 match against Greece, scheduled for 26 March, is being postponed until further notice.
No Albanian representative may participate at any UEFA committee meetings, courses, workshops, events, etc, and no Albanian referee, delegate, venue director or other official may be involved at any UEFA match or event. UEFA and FIFA hope to solve this conflict during the next two months, depending on the collaboration of the Albanian government. On March 14, the FIFA Executive Committee chaired by President Joseph S. Blatter, and at the recommendation of the FIFA Associations Committee, decided to suspend the Football Association of Albania due to heavy political interference.

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                    [post_content] => ZURICH, Switzerland, Feb. 25 - A senior UEFA official said that Albania could likely be suspended from international soccer activities unless the government stopped interfering in the local association.
UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that, earlier this month, FIFA had warned Albania it could be suspended.
Albania, which could also be suspended on March 14, is a concern for FIFA because the international governing body says the country's ministry of sport has threatened the independence of its soccer federation. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha even accused the soccer federation of fixing matches during the Euro 2008 qualifying tournament, but critics claim the move is politically motivated because federation president, Armando Duka, had a brother in the previous Albanian administration.
Albania lost to Belarus 4-2 and Romania 6-1during the qualifying matches. FIFA says it has asked for proof of match-fixing but received none, and Gaillard reiterated that no Euro 2008 qualifiers were under suspicion. He also said that Spain, ranked fourth in the world, was also threatened with sanctions.
Greece was suspended by FIFA on July 3, 2006, because it said a law interfered in the affairs of the country's soccer federation. The suspension was lifted nine days later when the Greek parliament amended the law.
If FIFA believes a government is interfering, there isn't much a country can do except comply and compete, or stand fast and sit out.
                    [post_title] =>  FIFA threatens Albania of suspension  
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 13 - Albania ranked seven places higher in the FIFA ranking list to 73 from 80 in January with 421 points, or 14 more than a month ago. The team also played friendly matches while in Antalya, Turkey last month. Albania's best ranking has been at 62nd place in 2006.
                    [post_title] =>  Albania moves up in FIFA ranks, though no matches played 
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            [post_content] => Platini had the honor to address the FSHF general assembly with the opening speech. 
"Faleminderit Shqiperi (Thank you Albania)," saluted Platini in the Albanian language." Even though Albania is a small country, it has great passion and love for the game of football. And our goal is to help such countries."
According to Platini, one of the latest UEFA decisions was to raise the number of participating national teams in the final phase of the European competition from 16 to 24.
"The final phase of EURO 2016 will have 24 teams instead of 16. This decision was taken in order to help smaller nations to achieve more. I won't be surprised if Albania will be one of the countries to qualify to the finals of EURO 16."
At the end of his speech, Platini congratulated FSHF for the latest progress in Albanian football and the achievements of the national team in the international stage, among which the surprise draw with Portugal in Braga.

            [post_title] =>  Platini: I would like to see Albania in EURO 2016 
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