The multicultural make up of modern Europe was epitomised by the internecine nature of the clash between Albania and Switzerland. Almost half the Swiss team that played were of Albanian origin and 10 players in the Albanian squad were born in or grew up in Switzerland. Such was the interrelation of the players that there were two brothers who lined up on opposites sides! Talk about divided family loyalties. I wonder who their parents and relatives were supporting? And whether they were still talking to each other after the match finished!
Switzerland, the overwhelming favourites, won the match with an early header but their victory was far from straightforward even though Albania were playing with 10 men for the whole of the second half. Albania even had a great chance to equalise 4 minutes from the end when substitute Gashi was put clean through in front of goal, but his shot was parried by the keeper to save Switzerland’s blushes.
Just like Romania against France yesterday, Albania’s sterling performance showed that there are going to be no easy games at these Euros. That can only be good for the tournament.