Albania claim historic futsal qualification

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 30, 2017 12:47

Albania claim historic futsal qualification

TIRANA, Jan. 30 – Albania beat England, Bulgaria and Malta to claim a first-ever qualification from a preliminary futsal round in only a decade after the national team made its debut.

The futsal national side beat hosts Bulgaria 7-1, thrashed England 5-1 before narrowly winning 3-2 against Malta to qualify in the main round of the UEFA Futsal Euro 2018 on full points.

Albania will now face hosts Azerbaijan, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group 2 of the main round in three key fixtures that will take place in Azerbaijan from April 3 to 12.

Albania has a chance to make it to the final tournament as seven runners-up plus the best third-placed side can still make it through play-offs, in addition to the seven group winners that directly qualify for the final Slovenia tournament in early 2018.

“I think it was a huge achievement for Albanian futsal. We made a great achievement beating teams such as England, Bulgaria and Malta leading to Albania’s first ever qualification from a preliminary round. This job that started three years ago has already reaped its harvest. 2016 was a historic year for Albanian football and 2017 can follow as a historic year,” says coach Erind Resuli.

Back in 2016, Albania made its first ever appearance at a major football tournament such as Euro 2016 and was unlucky to make it to the knockout stage as one of the best third-placed teams, losing a chance only on poorer goal difference.

Speaking about the group stage qualification prospects, the Albanian coach says “we will do our best although the opponents are very tough, especially hosts Azerbaijan who have naturalized Brazilians on their national team.”

Albania launched its futsal national team in 2005, a decade after Europe’s football governing body. UEFA, started organizing futsal tournaments. The country also has a futsal premier league since 2003.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 30, 2017 12:47