Lorik Cana says will, heart and sacrifice are the ingredients that equipped Albania to upset Romania and earn a chance to progress at Euro 2016.
The tournament debutants, having lost narrowly to Switzerland and France, won 1-0 at a raucous Stade de Lyon on Sunday, Armando Sadiku scoring his country’s first goal at a major finals.
Victory leaves Albania on three points in Group A and with a chance of progressing as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Speaking after the famous win, Cana was asked how the tiny Balkan state were able to defy the odds and secure an unexpected triumph.
“The will, the heart, the sacrifice, that’s what extraordinary in our team,” he said.
“We don’t have the talent of our teams, but that’s what makes us special.”
The Nantes player was surprisingly named on the bench despite returning from suspension, coming on for the dramatic closing stages to help his team see out a late Romania rally.
“It was not easy, it was the last 12 minutes, but I wanted to get in, calm down the game and give us confidence,” he said.
“I believe we were calm enough and played well at the very end.”
Sunday’s victory has left Albania as one of the best third-placed teams, though Portugal (two points), the Czech Republic and Sweden (both one point) still have a match to play in the group stage.
“We’re going to have to wait until Tuesday night but this is what we’ve done, we’ve gone further than ever before,” Cana added.
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