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Euro 2024: with Alain Giresse, Kosovo gives itself the right to dream


Appointed coach of Kosovo a year ago, the former French glory, Alain Giresse, dreams of qualifying this small country for Euro 2024. A not so absurd challenge.

It was a fanfare start sprinkled with anonymity.

It is true that a friendly match against Burkina Faso, on a Thursday at 6 p.m., was not going to fill the modest stands in Pristina, capital of Kosovo.

Yet it is here that Alain Giresse won his first victory (5-0) as coach of this small and former Balkan country.

Wink of fate: the match was played at the Fadil Vokrri stadium, named after a former president of the Kosovar football federation who, when he was younger, shook the nets in France, wearing the jersey of Nîmes, Bourges and Montluçon in the early 90s.

To discover

  • Euro 2024: the qualifying calendar

  • Euro 2024: dates, place, draw

The conditions were met for a legend of French football like Alain Giresse to settle in Kosovo, a nation that had already approached him between 2013 and 2014, when he led Senegal.

The 1984 European champion with the Blues (47 caps, 6 goals), member of the “magic square” with Jean Tigana, Michel Platini and Bernard Genghini (then Luis Fernandez), was reapproached barely a year ago.


Barely ten days (later) and it was gone

," he shared with



“Many people find it difficult to identify geographically” Kosovo

It's an original challenge, although not so much for him, that Giresse accepted.

The legend of the Girondins de Bordeaux (592 matches and 181 goals, club records) has scoured the selections since 2004, from Georgia to Tunisia via Gabon, Mali and Senegal.

Kosovo, no larger than Île-de-France, and whose territorial status remains unclear until today, waited until January 2014 for its football team to be recognized by FIFA, and until May 2016 to become member of UEFA.

Milot Rashica (N°7) celebrating his goal during Israel-Kosovo on March 25th.


Even the country, a lot of people find it difficult to identify it geographically

”, recognized Giresse in the columns of


in March 2022. Composing the selection is not easy either.

If the Blues do not play in France for the majority, they have a visibility which allows Didier (Deschamps) to follow them.

For Kosovo, it's more complicated

, ”developed Giresse, some of whose players play in Hungary, Albania, Slovenia or in German D2.

Kosovar internationals in Ligue 1

Add to that the complexity of a recent country, which relies above all on expatriates.


Le Quotidien du Sport

, Giresse took the example of Diant Ramaj, substitute goalkeeper for Frankfurt born in 2001 in Stuttgart: “

He is of Kosovo origin, but he is a German international in the youth teams.

There are many like him.

It is not easy to convince them to wear the colors of their country of origin.

Giresse, who has spent more than ten years coaching African teams, knows what he is talking about.

Going to Euro 2024 is still a dream come true

Alain Giresse

This is not what will discourage the former midfielder, who relies on elements of Ligue 1 (Edon Zhegrova in Lille, Arber Zeneli in Reims) or confirmed players in Naples (Amir Rrahmani, defender) and Galatasaray ( Milot Rashica, striker).

Kosovo has gone from a footballing embryo in 2017 (177th in the FIFA rankings) to a simple "small nation" (107th nation).

We must "


", "


", "


", repeats Giresse over the interviews.

Going to Euro 2024 is still a dream come true

,” tempered Giresse six months ago.

A dream that can take shape, because the draw for the playoffs turned out to be lenient.

Apart from Switzerland, favorite of group I, there are also Romania (52nd FIFA nation), Israel (76th), Belarus (97th) and Andorra (153rd).

With a draw in Israel last Saturday (1-1), Kosovo scored a valuable first point before hosting Andorra in Pristina on Tuesday (8:45 p.m.).

The 2 million inhabitants of the country will be there this time.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-03-28

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