football

Six Albanians in Switzerland, how many of them will be in Europe

Xherdan Shaqiri & Granit Xhaka

Xherdan Shaqiri & Granit Xhaka

Photo: Associated Press

A total of six Albanian footballers have been invited by Switzerland's coach, Murat Yakin, in the preparations for Euro 2024. But hardly all of them will be in the European Championship, which starts in a month in Germany.

Apart from the usual Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, Uran Bislimi, Andi Zeqiri, Ardon Jashari and Albian Hajdari have also been invited.

Midfielder Bislimi is also regularly invited. And the chances are great that Xhaka, Shaqiri and Bislimi will be in the European Championship, while the other three are waiting for a big fight for a place in the team that will represent Switzerland in "Euro 2024" in Germany.

Yakin on Friday made public the list, which has 38 names. Switzerland's final team will be named on June 7. Many of the players will not be at the start of the training camp, including Shaqiri, Xhaka, Zeqiri, Bislim and Hajdar. Due to their club commitments, they will join the representative team later.

Initially, there will be 21 players, including two goalkeepers. Switzerland's preparations begin on Monday in St. Gallen. 

"Since many veterans are not available due to obligations at their clubs, some new players have been invited to the pre-camp. They will have the opportunity to show themselves and, if necessary, push themselves towards the European Championship", said Yakin.

The players, who do not collect on Monday, are expected on May 31 and someone like Shaqiri until June 3, when the collection for Euro 2024 officially begins.

There will be two team reductions in Switzerland. Initially, some players will leave after the friendly match with Estonia, which is on June 4 in Luzern. The others will leave the day before the friendly with Austria, which is on June 8 in St. Gallen. So for the friendly match, the footballers will travel to Germany.

Although he has the right to 26 players, Yakin has announced that he will take a total of 24 players to Germany, including three goalkeepers.  Breel Embolo and Denis Zakaria, who are injured, will be waiting until the last moment.

"Our first goal is to get out of the very difficult group. Many things are possible in the group", said Yakin.

According to him, the structure of the team is known and it consists of 16 or 17 players. So few places are available to be filled.

Yakin said that two of Switzerland's most important players, captain Granit Xhaka and Manuel Akanji  they will be able to play in the two friendlies before the European one. Xhaka and Akanji have had a very long and very busy season. Xhaka is still waiting for three very important matches, two of them finals.

"Knowing the boys, they will want to play. Granit and Manuel always want to play. Obviously we can try something new against Estonia. But proven players have priority and clearly I will use them", said Yakin.

Switzerland is in Group A of the European together with Germany, Scotland and Hungary. On June 15, he plays against Hungary, on June 19 against Scotland and on June 23 against Germany.

Luzern's 21-year-old midfielder, Ardon Jashari, has two caps for Switzerland A. He has not been invited since September last year, while he has not played since the World Cup in Qatar in 2022. Bislimi is 24 and is a midfielder who plays for Lugano. Earlier he was in Kosovo, while now he has two matches for Switzerland. Finally it is getting cold regularly.

The 24-year-old striker of Genk, Andi Zeqiri, has played 11 games for Switzerland. He last played in November last year. Albian Hajdari is a 20-year-old Lugano defender. He was invited to the A representative for the first time. Finally, it was at Switzerland U21.

Xhaka is the captain and the player with the most appearances in the history of Switzerland, a full 123. Shaqiri is immediately second in terms of appearances with 121. Xhaka and Shaqiri are the main players of Switzerland, especially in big events. It is expected to be the same in Germany.