Coach Sylvinho says Albania under no pressure at Euros but wants them to show their heart

Mon, May 27, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Coach Sylvinho says Albania under no pressure at Euros but wants them to show their heart

TIRANA, Albania (AP) - Albania is under no pressure heading to the European Championship although coach Sylvinho stressed on Monday his team will show its fighting character.

The Albanians qualified for their second Euros by topping a group including the Czech Republic and Poland. They are in Group B with Italy, Spain and Croatia.

"Under pressure? No, we are not," Sylvinho said at a news conference. "In the football world, each game is a miracle. Everything can happen. Many things occur. We should go there and play and improve."

Albania starts its campaign in Germany against defending champion Italy on June 15, followed by two-time quarterfinalist Croatia on June 19 then three-time champion Spain on June 24.

"We know the strength of our opponents. They do not play to pass the group but to win the European (Championship)," Sylvinho said.

"We go there to show our trust in each other, the team's heart and spirit. That is what we should show at the European."

Sylvinho was appointed in January 2023 to get Albania to Euro 2024, after which his contract ends. The Brazilian declined to answer a question on Monday about whether he wanted to continue as coach, saying only that his focus and energy were on preparing the team for the Euros.

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Albania hopes to retain Sylvinho in a bid to reach the World Cup for the first time. He and his assistants Pablo Zabaleta of Argentina and Luca Laurenti and Gianluca Stesina of Italy were sworn in as Albanian citizens this week as a reward for qualifying the team for the Euros. The only previous time was in 2016.

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