Albania climbs to historic 22nd in August FIFA rankings

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 7, 2015 10:23

Story Highlights

  • "Albania continues its climb in the FIFA ranking, improving from 36th to 22nd in August and leaving behind countries like France, Denmark and Ghana," Gianni De Biasi, the Italian coach who has been leading Albania since late 2011, wrote in social networks

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albanieTIRANA, Aug. 6 – For the very first time Albania’s national football team has made it to the world’s top 30 following a surprise positive performance in its Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Albania climbed 14 places to a historic high of 22nd in the August FIFA Men’s ranking after Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport gave Albania a 3-0 victory in last October’s abandoned match away to Serbia in a final decision ending a legal battle which reversed a previous ruling by Europe’s football governing body.

The FIFA monthly ranking includes 208 football associations from all over the world.

With one game in hand, Albania now see themselves rank third in Group I of France 2016 Euro qualifiers with 10 points, level on points with Denmark which holds an advantage only thanks to a goal away to Albania in last October’s 1-1 qualifier.

“Albania continues its climb in the FIFA ranking, improving from 36th to 22nd in August and leaving behind countries like France, Denmark and Ghana,” wrote Italian coach Gianni De Biasi, who has been leading Albania since late 2011.

Albania was sandwiched between Ivory Coast and France in the August ranking leaving behind even the U.S., Russia, Sweden and neighbors Greece and Serbia.

With four games to go before the qualifiers close, Albania sees itself in a comfortable position which has also worried favorite rivals Portugal and Denmark in the Euro qualifiers group stage.

As never before, Albania has almost mathematically secured a spot in the play-offs in case of finishing third in group but also stands good chances to secure a place in the top two which means direct qualification as it currently stands two points behind group leaders Portugal with one game less.

Albania’s next qualifier will be away to Denmark on September 4 before hosting Portugal three days later.

Meanwhile, Albania will face a tough race in the 2018 Russia World Cup qualifiers after being drawn against four-time World Cup winners Italy and 2010 winners Spain in Group G.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 7, 2015 10:23