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Italy knights Albania coach Gianni de Biasi

Gianni de Biasi has been honoured for his contribution to Albania.

TIRANA, Albania -- Italy has awarded Gianni de Biasi, an Italian who coaches the Albanian national team, with the Medal of the Star, graded as a Knight, for promoting the country in the sport.

An embassy statement Wednesday said Italian Ambassador Alberto Cutillo awarded the medal to De Biasi the previous evening "for his contribution to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two countries and to promote Albania's image abroad," adding that "before politics De Biasi managed to bring...

Attack on Israel national team prevented, Kosovo police say

Albania dug themselves in a hole with two red cards and Israel capitalised with a 3-0 victory.

Kosovo police said on Thursday they prevented simultaneous attacks by the Islamic State group, including on the Israel national team that played a World Cup qualifier in neighboring Albania.

A police statement said plans were in place to attack Saturday's match in Albania, and at the same time attack another target in Kosovo. Nineteen people were detained in Kosovo on Nov. 4, of whom one has since been released, police there said. Albania and Macedonia announced six more people detained.

The Kosovo...

Albania police using extreme security for Israeli qualifier

Albania play Israel in World Cup qualifying on Saturday.

Albanian police say they have taken extreme steps to secure the World Cup qualifier between Albania and Israel on Saturday.

The venue was changed for "security reasons" from the northern city of Shkoder, near the border with Montenegro, to Elbasan, nearer to Tirana.

The Elbasan Arena was 55 kilometres south of Tirana.

The decision followed media reports that an alleged terror group of 15 persons, arrested in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia, planned an attack during the match.

A statement on Friday...

FIFA clears two former Albania players to suit up for Kosovo

Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha
Besart Berisha has been cleared to play for Kosovo.

FIFA has cleared two former Albania players to represent Kosovo in a World Cup qualifying match on Saturday.

FIFA says Besart Berisha, a forward with Melbourne Victory, and defender Mergim Vojvoda, of Belgian club Mouscron, had their applications approved to change national-team allegiance.

Kosovo-eligible players played for other countries before the Balkan republic became members of UEFA and FIFA in May.

The 31-year-old Berisha played for Albania's senior team a decade ago, and Vojvoda recently...