***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about two moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Albania, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.
#1 in the FIFA World Rankings for games interrupted by flag-flying drones
Nickname: Kuq e Zinjtë (The Red and Blacks) Shqiponjat (The Eagles)
FIFA Ranking: 66 (October 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from group stage (UEFA) finishing 3rd in group behind England and Poland, and above Hungary, Andorra and San Marino
The national team of Albania first attempted to qualify for the World Cup in 1966 and has fallen short in all thirteen of its campaigns, with its best result being this most recent World Cup, where it finished just two points shy of a playoff spot after a decisive loss to Poland in Tirana. Its failures there and all its other 113 past World Cup qualifying matches may be due to the fact that not one of them was a match interrupted by a drone flying an Albanian flag charged with a inflammatory nationalistic statement, matches in which it is undefeated and ranked 1st in the world.
Albania have dominated matches that have been decided by an interruption by a drone charged with nationalistic heraldry. In fact, its defence is so impenetrable in these matches that is yet to concede a goal (scoring a total of three goals of its own).
The team’s invincibility in drone-decided matches began in a Euro 2016 qualifier in Serbia in October 2014, where a drone carrying a flag bearing a map of Albanian flag and insignia representing Greater Albania and the idea ‘native’ (in reference to an ancient Albanian land claim), interrupted the match, sparking an all-in brawl, with supporters hurling flares onto the pitch and storming the field to attack the Albanian players. Fortunately, everyone survived unscathed and most fortuitously, Albania were awarded a 3-0 win by UEFA.
To this day, The Eagles remain undefeated in matches were its flag and a politically and ethnically charged message is attached to a drone and flown onto the pitch during its matches, and with all of FIFA 210 other national teams reaching nowhere near Albania’s success in such matches, they would be well advised to take a page from Albania’s book and get its own Ismail Morinaj for the upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
One to watch: Anyone you have a blood debt with
Within traditional culture, Albanians still adhere to the centuries-old obligatory social practice of ‘blood-feuds’, a code of conduct born from the ‘law of Kanun‘, which decrees that if a family member is murdered, that family must seek to avenge their death in order to salvage its own honour.
Respectability plays a central role in traditional Albanian culture, so if you’ve knocked off someone in Albania, best you lay low at home, along with any other male family members, for the rest of your life. The women and girls are okay, they’re free to leave the house anytime and go to work, school or whatever (in fact best hope they do, because they’re gonna be your only breadwinners from now on), but so far as you and any other males go, I hope you’re homebodies, because you or them are never going out past your front gate ever again (unless you want to be murdered).
The Highpoint: Euro 2016
On its debut appearance a major international tournament, Albania even managed a victory at Euro 2016 in France, after most notably defeating Portugal in its qualifying campaign and booking its ticket to France directly as group runners-up.
In France, its campaign started off miserably, where in its debut match against Switzerland, it conceded in the opening five minutes, had its captain sent off half an hour later and eventually fell to a 1-0 loss. Things stayed grim for Shqipërisë (which of course everyone knows is ‘Albania’ in Albanian) as it got rolled 2-0 by the host nation, before flipping the script in its final group game against Romania, where it racked up its first goal and maiden victory at a major international competition (not including the 1946 Balkan Cup, that is). The victory however wasn’t enough, as Albania’s narrow win left it in last place among the 3rd placed teams and therefore out of the tournament.
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