UEFA Euro 2016: An Albanian team with an Italian taste

Gianni De Biasi will be having sleepless nights in order to set up the right formation ahead of next Saturday's UEFA Euro 2016 debut against Switzerland.

UEFA Euro 2016: An Albanian team with an Italian taste
Albania are to embark on their first ever European Championship. l Photo: UEFA

Albania are one of four teams who will be participating in any European Championship for the first time ever this month.

Without doubt, their mastermind has been the Italian duo formed by Gianni De Biasi and Paolo Tramezzani, who have transformed Albania from a European minnow into a strong and resilient squad, who will be seeking to upset the doubters in France

It won't be a new task for Albania in giving a hard time to Europe's best, as they qualified in a group which contained the likes of Portugal, Denmark and Serbia - all countries who boast participation in numerous major tournaments. 

An Italian taste for Albania

As already underlined, Albania are guided by Italian coach De Biasi alongside his compatriot Tramezzani who occupies the role of assistant manager. However, Albania also boast five players who play in Italy.

The Serie A stars are: Etrit Berisha, who safeguards Lazio's posts; Elseid Hysaj, who plays with Napoli; and Frosinone's Arlind Ajeti. Besides these players, Albania also have players from the Italian Serie B like Migjen Besha whom last season played with relegated Como and Ledjan Memushaj, Pescara's anchorman in the midfield.

Moreover, they are captained by Lorik Cana, who has already embraced Italian football in his career, featuring for Lazio.

Albania captain Lori Cana has 92 caps for his country. (Photo: UEFA)
Albania captain Lori Cana has 92 caps for his country. (Photo: UEFA)

Keep an eye on

Albania may lack quality, or even more, lack a player who grab the headlines week in week out with their respective clubs. Yet, two players who may shine for De Biasi's team are Taulant Xhaka and Shkelzen Gashi.

Xhaka is one of the five players who feature in the Swiss league, as he plays with Basel, and will be up and ready to cross swords with his brother Granit Xhaka, who has chosen Switzerland over Albania.

On the other hand, Gashi has left Europe to pursue his career in the United States, where he has adapted quickly into Colorado Rapids' tacticism, giving hope for De Biasi that Albania can have their say upfront as well. 

Possible starting XI (4-1-4-1): Berisha (Lazio); Hysaj (Napoli), Cana (Nantes), Mavraj (Colonia), Agolli (Qarabag); Kukeli (Zurigo); Roshi (Rijeka), Kace (Paok Salonicco), Abrashi (Friburgo), Gashi (Colorado Rapids); Cikalleshi (Istanbul Basaksehir).