***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about two moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Kosovo, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.
Kosovo or kosovo or Kosova or Serbia or ❌UNRECOGNISED❌ (Depends who you ask)
Nickname: The Dardanians
FIFA Ranking: 107 (October 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from group stage (UEFA) finishing bottom of group, below Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia
Depending on who you ask, the national team of Kosovo or kosovo or Kosova or Serbia or ❌UNRECOGNISED❌ has already developed a formidable reputation, notching up a number of impressive results in its six short years since acceptance into FIFA. Or it just doesn’t exist at all, it just depends.
Gaining independence in 2008, Kosovo or kosovo or Kosova or Serbia OR ❌UNRECOGNISED❌ made its debut appearance in a major competition in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. In its opening match, Kosovo or kosovo or Kosova or Serbia OR ❌UNRECOGNISED❌ managed not only to score its first ever official competitive goal, but it also took a point from their first ever competitive outing under the Kosovo banner in Finland. Some however believe that none of that ever happened at all.
Although it failed to register even another point in the remainder of its 2018 World Cup campaign, in the subsequent qualifiers for Euro 2020, Kosovo or kosovo or Kosova or Serbia OR ❌UNRECOGNISED❌ was a revelation.
The Dardanians–or as Spain refers to it, The territory of Kosovo or Kosovo football federation or kosovo or kos–defeated Bulgaria in Sofia (its first ever competitive win), Czech Republic (its first competitive win in Kosovo), Montenegro, it lead England 1-0 at Wembley as early as the 2nd minute (before eventually going down 5-3) and went almost two years undefeated from 2017-2019, a streak of 15 matches unbeaten (winning 11). Falling just short of an automatic berth to Euro 2020, Kosovo or kosovo or Kosova or Serbia OR ❌UNRECOGNISED❌’s dreams of heading to its first ever international tournament were put paid to by North Macedonia 1-0 in the European playoff semi-finals in October 2020.
The 2022 World Cup campaign proved far less fruitful for Kosovo or kosovo or Kosova or Serbia OR ❌UNRECOGNISED❌ as it finished bottom of its group, with just two draws against Greece and an away win in Georgia to show for their efforts. However, going off recent results in the 2022-23 Nations League–such as a 2nd place finish in its League C group (which included a defeat of Northern Ireland and a brace of wins over Cyprus)–an appearance at a major tournament, whether the European Champions or the World Cup could be just around the corner. Depends who you ask though, because according to 49% of the UN’s 191 member states, none of the above ever happened/will ever happen.
One to watch: Creator of Kosovo, Majlinda Kelmendi
When the Olympics aren’t on, who gives a shit about them (unless you’re training for them). But every four years (two if you’re a Winter Olympics kind of person), they roll around and totally fuck up our shit. And in recent memory, no one has fucked it up and made us lose it more than Kosovar Albanian judoka Majlinda Kelmindi and the entire story of Kosovo’s debut at the Games, which culminated in the country’s first ever gold and put Kosovo on the map.
In the space of five minutes, Kosovo went from ‘Yeah I’ve heard of that place’ to ‘Oh wait, that’s a country now?!’, and it was all thanks to Kelmendi. So go on, watch this below and just try not to get your shit all messed up by Kelmendi’s story. I dare ya. Go on, tell me that it doesn’t make you lose your shit.
Kelmendi… what a flipping legend.
The Highpoint: Just taking the field as Kosovo in a FIFA-recognized match, really
As little as twenty years ago, if you had told Kosovo Albanians that they’d soon be stepping out on to the field as an accepted member of FIFA, displaying the Kosovo flag and playing the Kosovo national anthem in an official FIFA-sanctioned tie, they would have told you ‘Të qifsha të bardhët e syve’ (Fuck your eye whites), ‘Të raftë rrufeja’ (May the thunder fall on you), ‘Të vraftë Zoti’ (May God kill you), ‘Të marrtë lumi’ (May the river wash you away), ‘T’u mshelt dera’ (May your door close forever) or ‘Te humbtë fara’ (May your seed disappear). But in 2016, against the Faroe Islands, it actually happened.
For the first time ever as an official member of FIFA (and UEFA) and the first time under its own flag and playing its own anthem, Kosovo was competing in a FIFA-recognized match. So, you, and Kosovar Albanians can be proud that although disputes around the country’s legitimacy are still ongoing, and with Serbia once again flexing its muscles over the issue of Kosovo’s independence, you and Kosovar Albanians can at least feel somewhat heartened by the fact that Kosovo’s seed has not disappeared, the river has not washed it away, the thunder has not fallen on it and its eye whites are fine.
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
19 Nov 2022
ALBANIA 🇦🇱 x 🇽🇰 KOSOVO