Having gone ahead against Lithuania from a penalty, Albania conceded an equaliser within two minutes. Just before half time Lithuania scored again.
In the second half Albania created a stack of opportunities looking for their second goal, but some off-target shooting and good goalkeeping kept them at bay. Lithuania defended in depth and played on the break even winning a penalty at one stage which was well saved by the Albanian goalie.
Throughout the game Albania were playing against not just Lithuania but also the pitch and the weather conditions. The surface at Qemal Stafa is poor at the best of times, but after many days of constant and often heavy rain in Tirana it was worse than ever.
During the game there were regular outbursts of torrential rain and hail and by the end the pitch resembled a ploughed field. The Albanian team, who like to play the ball on the ground, struggled to get their game flowing as the pitch deteriorated.
Still, it wasn’t a bad result – Albania definitely had the better of the second half. The first real game of Euro 2008 kicks off on 2 September, an away game at Belarus. The first home game will be on 6 September against Romania.
Finally, thanks to Dave for forwarding this video: Folk Songs of the Far Right. It has nothing to with either football or Albania but I thought it might give some of you a laugh. If you want to go straight to the wmv, go here.