Albania has historically been out of sight when it comes to competing at FIFA and UEFA tournaments. Until now that is. Nicknamed the Eagles, Albania soared to international heights in 2016 by qualifying for its first-ever UEFA Euro Championship and sending the country with a population of just over two million into a frenzy. Formed in 1946, Albania enjoyed its highest FIFA ranking at No. 22 in 2015, climbing from the 96th-seed just seven years ago.
The country's only previous participation in any UEFA tournament was in 1982 at the Under-18 championship and in 1994 at the Under-16 competition. Much of Albania's recent success has been linked to Italian head coach Gianni de Biasi, who took over the job in 2011 and has turned the team around ever since. Albania played its first international match in 1946 — suffering a 3-2 defeat against Yugoslavia.
Among Albania's notable victories, the Eagles captured the Balkan Cup in 1946 and the 2000 Rothmans International Tournament, going undefeated en route to taking the title with a 1-0 win over Malta in the gold medal match.
Lorik Cana, a defensive midfielder who helped guide Albania into Euro 2016, is the most capped player in team history at 90.
Erjon Bogdani, who played for Albania from 1996 to 2013, remains the country's top all-time goal scorer with 18 tallies.
Albania Soccer Team Betting Lines Today
Keep track of Albania's next opponent for the latest live odds before placing your bet. Is the game on home soil or on visiting turf?
The Albanians are a stronger side when playing at Elbasan Arena, as proven during the Euro 2016 qualifying stage when defeating Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal 1-0.
These are things you must consider before wagering.
You can view Albania's complete schedule for the tournament along with odds for each match in the table provided below.
A couple warmup games should ease Albania into Euro 2016 as they prepare for two scheduled friendlies — May 29 against Qatar and June 3 vs. Ukraine. Albania opens the European championships June 11 against Switzerland before taking on tournament favourites and host country France on June 15.
Albania Soccer Team Standings Right Now
Albania will be looking to take its magical Euro 2016 run to the knockout stage. The second spot in Group A may seem within reach but as tournament underdogs it will be highly unlikely Albania can knock off Switzerland for the No. 2 berth, presumably behind powerhouse France.
How To Win At Albania Soccer Team Betting
Albania weren't even expected to qualify for Euro 2016. In fact, the Albanians enter the European soccer championships as the biggest outsiders to win the tournament according to Bet365, which has the club at 500/1 to go all the way. However, after finishing with a 4-2-2 record in the qualifying stage and placing second in the group behind Portugal, Albania has started to turn a few heads.
But let's not get too excited. While clinching a spot at Euro 2016 was a success in itself, expecting Albania to get through to the knockout stages is asking too much. Mixed in a group which contains host and tournament favourites France, along with Romania andn Switzerland, the Albanians will have their work cut out for them when they open the tournament on June 10 against the Swiss.
Albania does boast a tight defensive unit under De Biasi as the nation conceded just five goals in eight qualifying matches while holding off both Serbia and Denmark to earn its place at Euro 2016. Albania skipper Lorik Cana, who has moved from midfield to centre-back throughout the qualifying stage, will anchor the defence with his fearless style of play.
Waiting in the wings for the Eagles is rising star Rey Manaj, a 19-year-old striker who has even drawn comparisons to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Manaj is quick and is known for a thunderous shot. In two international games with Albania, the Inter Milan forward has one goal.
Ready to put your money on Albania? Here are a few online sportsbook options for all your betting needs.