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Albania coach says impossible can happen

Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Albania Training - Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens, France - 10/6/16 - Albania's coach Gianni De Biasi (C) during training. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Albania Training - Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens, France - 10/6/16 - Albania's coach Gianni De Biasi (C) during training. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

By John Irish

PARIS (Reuters) - Albania coach Gianni De Biasi hopes to emulate English Premier League champions Leicester City by making the "impossible" happen and disproving their underdog status when they meet Switzerland in Group A on Saturday.

The Italian's team are tipped as the whipping boys in a section that also includes hosts France and Balkan rivals Romania, and Saturday's match has a derby feel with links between the sides stemming from the large intake of Kosovar Albanian refugees in Switzerland.

Switzerland accepted tens of thousands of Kosovar Albanians who fled the Balkan wars in the 1990s following the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

"Impossible things in football can happen," De Biasi told a news conference on Friday when asked about Leicester's shock title success.

"We have to remain concentrated and play the football we know best defensively and offensively."

Albania, who have drawn and beaten France over the last year, have built from the back to make themselves tough to beat although going forward they struggle to score goals.

"If I said we weren't going to win the championship then the coach would give me daggers but clearly we don't start as favourites," said captain Lorik Cana.

"We're going to try and play the best with our hearts and with organisation," added the defender.

The game is a special one for Albania midfielder Taulant Xhaka and his younger brother Granit who plays for Switzerland.

Both are of Kosovan origin and it is the first time two brothers will be on opposite sides at a European Championship.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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