Euro 2024: ‘Brave and ambitious’ Albania ready for Spain

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Screenshot 2024 06 24 081927

Image caption: Albania are ranked 58 places below Spain in Fifa’s world rankings

Underdogs Albania face one of the favourites to win Euro 2024 when they play Spain on Monday but remain “ambitious” as they look to secure a knockout spot for the first time in their history.
Spain have already qualified from Group B as winners, while Albania are third with one point.
Albania lost to Italy despite scoring the fastest goal in Euros history, but then came from behind to hold Croatia to a 2-2 draw with a dramatic last-gasp equaliser.

Manager Sylvinho says his team are “going to go for it” against Spain.
He said: “They’re a strong team and we’ve got a tough game ahead. But we’ll give it a go.
“We have brave players who are ambitious and we look forward to playing well against them.”
Albania forward Arber Hoxha said Spain are “the best team in this group, and not only this group but also the whole tournament”.
Sylvinho’s side – who failed to get out of the group stage at Euro 2016 – are in a tough position but the Brazilian said his team are “proud” of their display in Germany so far and want to take it one step further.
“There are three million Albanians in Albania and more than nine or 10 million around the world. There was a generation that never saw their team in a European Championship,” said Sylvinho.
“We’re all doing a really good job. We’re alive, proud and ambitious. Spain are strong, but we’re going to go for it in the 90 minutes. We’d be delighted to play in the last 16, but we have to produce our best performance.”
‘Albania have already sprung a surprise’
Spain’s qualification for the last 16 is already confirmed, but manager Luis de la Fuente said “prestige” remains on the line in a “really tough” game.
“Albania have fantastic fans and have already sprung a surprise here,” said the Spain boss.
“We’ll approach this game as we have all the others as if it’s the last. Of course, we have a game plan for the players we feel are apt for this game. We’re only focusing on winning because we want to win every game.”
Albania can clinch second if they beat Spain and Croatia beat Italy – although, if Croatia’s margin of victory is two goals greater than Albania’s, they would jump above their Group B rivals.
Even if Albania fail to finish in the top two, they still have a change of progressing as one of the four best third-placed sides.

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