Albania Celebrates Gjasula's Heroics Despite Draw Against Croatia


June 20, 2024 · 2 min read

Albania Celebrates Gjasula's Heroics Despite Draw Against Croatia
Football | June 20, 2024
Albania is participating in their second major tournament, having previously qualified for Euro 2016. (Image: Getty)

Albania felt victorious despite not securing a win, celebrating Klaus Gjasula’s 95th-minute equalizer against Croatia long after the match ended. The atmosphere was festive as fans left Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion with drums and occasional firecrackers echoing their joy. Although Albania faces a likely early exit from Euro 2024, having yet to win a match, their spirited performances against Italy and Croatia have shown they are more than mere participants. Scoring within 23 seconds against Italy and again taking the lead against Croatia before drawing demonstrated their determination.

“We are proud,” said Albania coach Sylvinho. “The nation should take pride in both the result and the effort. The players gave their all on the field, delivering an amazing performance that represents our people.” Meanwhile, Croatia, once semifinalists at the World Cup, face the daunting prospect of a group-stage exit with just one point after two Group B matches. The disappointment was palpable as players dropped to their knees at the final whistle, realizing the severity of their situation.

“The Croatian players were devastated,” remarked former Premier League footballer Clinton Morrison on BBC Radio 5 Live. “They face a tough task against Italy and must maintain belief, although their body language suggests they could be on the brink of elimination.” Questions arise about Croatia’s future as their aging core, including stalwarts like Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric and Ivan Perisic, struggle to replicate past successes. Coach Zlatko Dalic acknowledged the challenges faced by their “golden generation” as they navigate a competitive tournament environment.

Despite a tough loss to Spain, where missed chances hurt, Croatia remains resilient and hopeful before facing Italy. “We will continue to believe until the end,” said Kramaric. “We aim to be more fortunate against Italy. Croatia has never had an easy path, but we will fight hard for these three points.”

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