Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Albania Scores After 23 Seconds for Quickest Ever Goal at the European Championship

Bajrami became just the second Albanian to score at a European Championship, after Armando Sadiku in 2016. - The AP
Bajrami became just the second Albanian to score at a European Championship, after Armando Sadiku in 2016. - The AP
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Albania Scores After 23 Seconds for Quickest Ever Goal at the European Championship

Bajrami became just the second Albanian to score at a European Championship, after Armando Sadiku in 2016. - The AP
Bajrami became just the second Albanian to score at a European Championship, after Armando Sadiku in 2016. - The AP

It took 23 seconds for Albania to leave a record-breaking mark on the European Championship.

Nedim Bajrami scored the fastest goal in the tournament's 64-year history when he pounced on an errant throw-in by Italy left back Federico Dimarco, took a touch, then smashed a rising shot inside the near post in Dortmund on Saturday.

It usurped the previous quickest goal at the Euros, scored by Dmitri Kirichenko of Russia after 67 seconds against Greece in 2004.

Albania wound up losing 2-1 in its opening match in Group B but fans of this tiny Western Balkan nation will always remember that moment they briefly shocked the defending champions.

Even if, as it transpired, it jolted Italy into action.

“We took it as a positive shock to the system,” Italy winger Federico Chiesa said. “It gave us flashbacks of the final in Euro 2020 when we immediately fell behind.”

According to The AP, on that occasion, the Italians bounced back to draw 1-1 with England and win the penalty shootout, and they showed similar character against Albania in a match that felt like it was being staged in Tirana.

The sight of the sea of Albanian red that filled Westfalenstadion blew away Sylvinho, the team's Brazil-born coach.

“We knew the entire stadium would be red,” he said, “but outside I saw so many Albanians proud to be here at the European Championship.”

Indeed, the former Barcelona and Arsenal defender said his players might have struggled to cope with the intensity of the occasion, given Albania has only ever played in one major tournament previously, Euro 2016.

“Once you are used to playing in this kind of competition, it gets easy,” Sylvinho said. "Take my case, I was used to playing in the Champions League when I was a player. I knew what to expect in nights when we played Real Madrid, Milan, Juventus.

“When you are not used to playing in this kind of competition, you have no idea what you are expected to play. The first one was going to be difficult. Now there will be no problems with the emotions involved.”

Bajrami became just the second Albanian to score at a European Championship, after Armando Sadiku in 2016.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : IOC: France Conditionally Confirmed as 2030 Winter Games Hosts

Paris 2024 Olympics - IOC Session 2030 & 2034 Announcements - Le Palais des Congres de Paris, Paris, France - July 24, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron, Member of Parliament Laurent Wauquiez, President of the region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Renaud Muselier and David Lappartient, President of the France's Olympic Committee during the IOC Session. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Paris 2024 Olympics - IOC Session 2030 & 2034 Announcements - Le Palais des Congres de Paris, Paris, France - July 24, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron, Member of Parliament Laurent Wauquiez, President of the region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Renaud Muselier and David Lappartient, President of the France's Olympic Committee during the IOC Session. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
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IOC: France Conditionally Confirmed as 2030 Winter Games Hosts

Paris 2024 Olympics - IOC Session 2030 & 2034 Announcements - Le Palais des Congres de Paris, Paris, France - July 24, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron, Member of Parliament Laurent Wauquiez, President of the region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Renaud Muselier and David Lappartient, President of the France's Olympic Committee during the IOC Session. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Paris 2024 Olympics - IOC Session 2030 & 2034 Announcements - Le Palais des Congres de Paris, Paris, France - July 24, 2024. French President Emmanuel Macron, Member of Parliament Laurent Wauquiez, President of the region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Renaud Muselier and David Lappartient, President of the France's Olympic Committee during the IOC Session. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

France was conditionally picked as the host of the 2030 Winter Games on Wednesday and must now deliver key financial guarantees in a timeline to be set by the International Olympic Committee, the IOC said.
The French Alps bid was the preferred choice since June but due to elections and a current caretaker government had been unable to deliver the necessary state and regional financial guarantees in time.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the IOC session prior to the vote on Wednesday in a bid to ease any concerns and show his support for the candidacy.
"I confirm the full commitment of the French nation, and assure you that I will ask the next prime minister to include not only this guarantee but also an Olympic Law in the priorities of the new government," he said.
"Seven years ago we made the same commitment (for the Paris 2024 Summer Games), and we delivered. We will do the same,” Reuters quoted Macron as saying.
The IOC said it had received a number of assurances regarding the outstanding guarantees that include the state's Olympic delivery guarantee and the financial guarantees of the two regions involved -- the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur regions.
However, it said it would not sign the host city contract, which has already been signed by France, until those guarantees were delivered.
The IOC decision means France will host the Winter Games six years after the Summer Olympics in Paris, which start on Friday.
France previously staged the Winter Games in Chamonix in 1924, Grenoble in 1968 and Albertville in 1992.