Albania are making their debut at a major tournament.

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When he took over, coach Gianni De Biasi tried out a 4-4-2 formation before concluding an extra man was needed in midfield.

The trio of Migjen Basha, Ledian Memushaj and Taulant Xhaka provide the solidity and discipline in central midfield. Odise Roshi provides attacking flair on the right flank, with the more disciplined Ermir Lenjani, who can also play at full-back, on the left. The midfield five operate behind a single striker, probably Sokol Cikalleshi, with Bekim Balaj or Armando Sadiku as alternatives.

Shkelzen Gashi, a prolific goalscorer for Basle in the Swiss league can play behind the main striker and gives De Biasi a more attacking 4-4-1-1 option. But he has sometimes preferred to use Gashi as an alternative to Roshi on the right – an indication of his defensive mindset.

Elseid Hysaj of Napoli is a very important player at right-back, often overlapping during counter-attacks, with Ansi Agolli less adventurous on the left.

Keeper Etrit Berisha is pushing to be first-choice at Lazio and played in all eight qualifiers, while captain and record cap-holder Lorik Cana has a strong partnership with Mergim Mavraj. Frederic Veseli, captain of the Swiss under-17 side that won the world title in 2009 was called up by De Biasi last November 2015 and could make the final cut.

The squad’s wild card could be Milot Rashica, an exciting teenager who made his debut in March. He may well be included in the provisional squad, and De Biasi faces a tough decision when he picks his final 23.

Tactics

Albania-tactics

When he took over, coach Gianni De Biasi tried out a 4-4-2 formation before concluding an extra man was needed in midfield.

The trio of Migjen Basha, Ledian Memushaj and Taulant Xhaka provide the solidity and discipline in central midfield. Odise Roshi provides attacking flair on the right flank, with the more disciplined Ermir Lenjani, who can also play at full-back, on the left. The midfield five operate behind a single striker, probably Sokol Cikalleshi, with Bekim Balaj or Armando Sadiku as alternatives.

Shkelzen Gashi, a prolific goalscorer for Basle in the Swiss league can play behind the main striker and gives De Biasi a more attacking 4-4-1-1 option. But he has sometimes preferred to use Gashi as an alternative to Roshi on the right – an indication of his defensive mindset.

Elseid Hysaj of Napoli is a very important player at right-back, often overlapping during counter-attacks, with Ansi Agolli less adventurous on the left.

Keeper Etrit Berisha is pushing to be first-choice at Lazio and played in all eight qualifiers, while captain and record cap-holder Lorik Cana has a strong partnership with Mergim Mavraj. Frederic Veseli, captain of the Swiss under-17 side that won the world title in 2009 was called up by De Biasi last November 2015 and could make the final cut.

The squad’s wild card could be Milot Rashica, an exciting teenager who made his debut in March. He may well be included in the provisional squad, and De Biasi faces a tough decision when he picks his final 23.

Coach

Gianni De Biasi

Gianni De Biasi (Ita)
Age 59 (16.06.56)

A midfielder for Palermo and Brescia in the 1980s before embarking on a career in coaching that saw him win promotion to Serie A with Modena and Torino, and a spell in Spain with Levante.

A second stint at Torino ended in relegation and he lasted only a few months at his final club side, Udinese.

Named as Albania coach in December 2011 and has been credited with bringing a more disciplined and tactical approach to the team’s play.

By Gezim Nushi

Squad

Goalkeepers: Etrit Berisha (Lazio), Alban Hoxha (Partizani), Orges Shehi (Skenderbeu).

Defenders: Lorik Cana (Nantes), Arlind Ajeti (Frosinone), Mergim Mavraj (FC Cologne), Elseid Hysaj (Napoli), Ansi Agolli (Qarabag), Frederic Veseli (Lugano), Naser Aliji (Basel).

Midfielders: Ledjan Memushaj (Pescara), Ergys Kaçe (PAOK), Andi Lila (Giannina), Migjen Basha (Como), Odise Roshi (Rijeka), Burim Kukeli (FC Zurich), Ermir Lenjani (Nantes), Taulant Xhaka (Basel), Armir Abrashi (Freiburg).

Forwards: Bekim Balaj (Rijeka), Sokol Cikalleshi (Medipol Baksasehir), Armando Sadiku (Vaduz), Shkelzen Gashi (Colorado Rapids).

Schedule

Jun 11 v Switzerland (Lens, France)
Jun 15 v France (Marseilles, France)
Jun 19 v Romania (Lyon, France)

Euro 2016 schedule