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Albania 0 - Holland 1

Bad result. Albania should have had at least a draw. If one of the two early efforts that were cleared off the line had gone in who knows what might have happened.

I don't know what was wrong with the first disallowed goal, though the second one was definitely offside.

I know some people have been blaming the referee - we all do and I've done it myself many times - but the biggest culprit on the night was the Albanian number 5, Cana. He went in with the head - twice - pushing past the referee on the second occasion to get to his man. You use the head, you get sent off - there's nothing controversial about that. (You can read Cana's excuses here.)

So Albania, who had defended exceptionally well up to that point were left to face the last crucial minutes against a fired up Holland one man short in the midefield.

Equal billing for idiot of the night goes to the fool who threw the firecracker at Melchiot. Should the referee have restarted the game and played the last 100 seconds of extra time? Yes. Was there any possibility that he would do so after a fan had thrown a firecracker at a players? No.

It's a shame for the rest of the Albanian team that all their hard work was wasted in the end and for the fans who turned out to back the team.

Sorry for the lack of photographs. By the time there was anything to take pictures of it was too dark for my very basic camera to cope with.


Anonymous said…
I watched the whole game, and I couldn't agree more with what you said. As an Albanian fan, it was just so sad to watch the end of that game. Unfortunately it will go down in history as a loss and not as a "we should have had at least a draw".

Best game I have ever seen of our guys...
Marco said…
I took few pictures and video clips...they are on my blog
Jeroen said…
Don't care about football so I didn't watch, but I did hear Marco van Basten comment that he though the poverty 'was not so bad' in Tirana. Wonder what he expected.

A Greek paper reported a chap setting fire to his fish kiosk after the match - and the fire brigade subsequently discovering someone had stolen their water:
Anonymous said…
Hi, I'm an Albanian girl. I tried to play the game once in my life many years ago and I fell and hurt my face. Plus, after years of myself and my umbrella being hit accidentally in Durrsi beach by guys playing soccer, I have given up and I'll never play again.
The only soccer I watch is the finals semifinals at the World Cup, but I glimpsed randomly some of the game. I could tell that our team was playing better than before, but still I think that the Albanian players were a bit too agressive. I have noticed that when any team can't play as well as another one they become rude/aggressive. I don't know who that Albanian that pushed the other Dutch guy was. Very very rude. It reminded me why I don't like watching this primitive sport. Everyone running after a ball and almost killing each other bout it. Men!... What I liked was Nistelroy's goal. Very artful, and he was cute.
Can Albanian guys accept a loss and not be rude about it? It's just a game. Come on, we knew before the game that we would play better than before and that they would win. It doesn't have to turn ugly. I didn't liek the Albania-Greece match when we won, because our fans were extremely rude. You don't have banner with swearing words on national tv. What do you want a war because you are angry and unemplyed and have nothing to do? Will you call for Nato then? You don't boo other people's national anthems. I couldn't watch it, it was so sad, for us. Very low level.
The first major game in Tirana that i remember was in the late 90s- or 2001 when Uk beat us. We were just so happy they beat us, that thye at least came to Albania. It was also the first time I saw young people and the whoel boulevard red with Albanian flags. Before that, during the 90s people weren't so proud to even keep our flag. It was a turning point. We knew we would loose, we did badly actually. Was it a 5-0? I don't remember. But, hey it was fun. Keep the spirit of the sport, don't turn it into a gladiator death arena! Please!
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