Six of Albania’s players were born in Switzerland, while a huge section of the latter’s squad has links to the nation, making Saturday’s encounter between them a tense one.
When it comes to multiculturalism, Switzerland leads the way. The small European republic has a large immigrant population from all around the world and that is heavily reflected in their national football team.
With the likes of Johan Djourou, Denis Zakaria, Gelson Fernandes and Breel Embolo in the squad for Euro 2016, a significant proportion of it is made up of players with strong links to Africa, while Turkey is also represented through Eren Derdiyok, as is Bosnia with Haris Seferovic’s presence.
However, the strongest links to another nation evident in Vladimir Petkovic’s side are those to Albania.
Saturday’s game between the two nations will have some extra significance for the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Admir Mehmedi, Shani Tarashaj, Blerim Dzemaili and Valon Behrami in the Switzerland team, as all six are of Albanian heritage.
Incredibly, six of Albania’s team – Arlind Ajeti, Freddie Veseli, Migjen Basha, Amir Abrashi, Shkelzen Gashi and Taulant Xhaka – were all born in Switzerland.Indeed, Granit Xhaka, born in Basel to Kosovo Albanian parents, represents Switzerland, while his brother Taulant featured for the country all the way through the youth squads before opting to play for Albania at senior level.