Albania national under-21 football team
|Nickname(s)||Shpresat e Shqipërisë (Albanian Expectations/Hopes)|
|Association||Federata Shqiptare e Futbollit (FSHF)|
|Head coach||Skënder Gega|
|Most caps||Elvis Prençi (12)
|Top scorer||Armando Sadiku (6)|
|Home stadium||Qemal Stafa Stadium|
| Albania 7–1 Romania
(Tirana, Albania; April 12, 1978)
| Germany 8–0 Albania
(Cologne, Germany; March 23, 2001)
|UEFA U-21 Championship|
|Appearances||1 (First in 1984)|
|Best result||Quarter-finals, 1984|
The Albania national under-21 football team is the national under-21 football team of Albania and is controlled by the Football Association of Albania. The team competes in the European Under-21 Football Championship, which is held every two years.
In terms of youth football, this team is very amazing and is the highest age group team in which the best young, professional footballers who have were born in Albania, or have Albanian parents or grandparents, can be selected to play in. The team's players have the hope that they can successfully play international football with some success and possibly be called up to play in the full senior Albania team.
Albania U-21 participated in the Balkan Youth Championships, which started in 1969 and ended in 1981 in 10 overall competitions, and won the two last, the 1978 and the 1981 ones with finals against Romania and Bulgaria. Notably in 1978 the second leg of the final match against Romania was characterized by a large Albania win (7-1), which is, until September 2014, the largest win ever recorded of Albania U-21.
1984 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship
Albania Under-21's have managed to qualify only once in their history, and that came in the year of 1984 when they managed to qualify for the 1984 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, although they were competing for the first time in such tournament. They were drawn in a very tough group which included the West Germany, Turkey and Austria. The historic event in Albanian football history is the only occasion where any Albanian national team has ever managed to qualify for a major European or even World championship. To this day the team that qualified for 1984 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship are still regarded as the most successful team in Albanian football history. Albania U21 managed to qualify without losing a single game and managing two very good draws against one of the biggest and best footballing nations, West Germany.
Albania played the quarter finals against Italy, against which it lost twice 0-1, and 0-1, in Albania and Italy respectively. Italy advanced to the semifinals of Euro '84 and lost them against England, eventual champions of the tournament.
In the 1986 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania came last in group after Poland and Greece, and could not qualify. In the 1988 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania came again last in group after Spain, Romania nd Austria. In the 1990 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania came last in group after Sweden, England and Poland. In the 1992 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship managed to leave last in groupe Iceland, but was preceded by Czechoslovakia, France and Spain. In the qualifiers of the 1994 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania againe left at bottom the Republic of Ireland, but was preceded by Spain, Germany and Denmark.
In the 1996 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification Albania did not participate. In the qualifiers of the 1998 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania left behind Armenia, but had to trail in the final rankings Germany, Ukraine, and Portugal. In the qualifiers of the 2000 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania trailed Greece, Norway, Georgia, Latvia, and Slovenia and closed at the bottom of the group. In the qualifiers of the 2002 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania came again last behind England, Greece, Germany, and Finland.
In the qualifiers of the 2004 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania had the best result since Euro '84, when it had won the group, as it left two teams behind (Republic of Ireland and Georgia), but was preceded by Switzerland and Russia, and thus failed to qualify to the main tournament. In the qualifiers of the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania left behind itself Kazakhstan, but was preceded by Denmark, Ukraine, Greece, Turkey, and Georgia. In the qualifiers of the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, in a 3 teams group, Albania came last behind Spain and Slovakia and failed to qualify.
In the qualifiers of the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania was fourth out of 6 teams in the final ranking, leaving behind the Faroe Islands and Azerbaijan, but trailing behind Italy, Croatia and Greece. In the qualifiers of the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania left again behind Azerbaijan but trailed Scotland, Belarus, and Austria in the final rankings. In the qualifiers of the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship Albania came last trailing behind Russia, Portugal, Poland, and Moldova. However, as a consolation for the first time an Albanian footballer, Armando Sadiku was the top goalscoarer of the group. Albania drew in Russia against the famous hosts during that tournament, a noticeable fact.
The following players have been called up to participate in for a mini preparatory stage in Turkey. Wreathed with detailed program of Skënder Gega coach, the team will also play 3 friendly matches. On 20 it will play against Iran U-20, on Friday next meeting will be against Ukraine U21 counterparts while two days later, on Sunday in front of Albania dated January 25 will be the China U-22.
Caps and goals as of 16 November 2014
Following players have been called up in the previous 12 months.
Current coaching staff:
|Head Coach||Skënder Gega|
|Assistant Coach||Genti Mahmutaj|
|Athletic Coach||Iris Selimi|
|Goalkeeping Coach||Gut Tafaj|
|Fitness Coach||Xhaferr Koçi|
|Team Doctor||Alban Merepeza|
- Winners (2): 1978, 1981
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Players of Albania national under-21 football team.|
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