De Biasi in limbo as Albania face nervous wait


Gianni De Biasi has jokingly claimed he does not know how Albania will handle the nervous wait to discover their Euro 2016 fate.

The tournament debutants upset Romania 1-0 in Lyon on Sunday to give themselves a chance of progressing to the round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

But they must wait to learn the outcome of the remaining group-stage matches, meaning it will not be until midweek that they discover if they are staying in France or going home.

Asked how he will choose to prepare the team given the uncertainty of the coming days, De Biasi, wearing a broad smile, initially replied: "Good question!"

"We will have to prepare as if we have to play the Friday or Saturday. In the meantime we will be watching the other games.

"If we stay in this tournament, we will give trouble to other teams, even important teams. We had more confidence tonight. We needed the first games to settle into the tournament," he added, referring to narrow losses at the hands of France and Switzerland.

De Biasi sprung a selection surprise by omitting captain Lorik Cana from the starting XI, despite the talisman being available again after serving a suspension.

And the coach, who strongly indicated at his pre-match press conference that the Nantes player would be selected, perhaps fooling the opposition, praised the experienced and versatile skipper for his grace upon being informed he would not start.

"Yes, it was a difficult choice for me," he said.

"I told him today after lunch. I didn't want to change too much of the team that did well against France. 

"I asked Lorik to sacrifice himself and he was very generous. He's a leader, a team man. It wasn't easy. 

"[Well done] to him for his attitude and his behaviour."

Man of the match Elseid Hysaj meanwhile was grateful to De Biasi for sticking with him at right-back throughout the tournament.

"It is a great honour of course," he said of being deemed the best player on the pitch during a famous win for his country.

"We have all fought for our team and to achieve the objective that we have. 

"I would like to thank the coach very much for trusting me. And I believe we gave the maximum. We have shown, proven that I can play high quality matches."