As England prepare to sponsor Kosovo at the Euro 2020 Qualifier of Tuesday, we take a look at the'Brazil of the Balkans' emergence as a footballing nation and they turned into the in-form global side of Europe.
The emergence of a nation
Kosovo, which has a population of 1.8m folks, had to campaign for almost a decade before they were declared as FIFA and UEFA members at 2016 following their statement of independence from Serbia in February 2008.
Some countries, including Serbia, still do not recognise Kosovan sovereignty and the issue continues to back its head.
Officials said authorities in Kosovo arrested eight European fans that were planning to fly a drone with an pro-Serbia banner during Saturday's Euro 2020 Qualifier between the two sides. Six men and two women were arrested near the capital of Pristina and police captured a drone, a Serbian flag and a banner which read"Kosovo is Serbia," along with fireworks along with a knife.
With their first official match with a goalless draw with Haiti having played friendlies because 2010, Kosovo started playing FIFA members in friendlies at 2014.
Kosovo played their first competitive football match in September 2016 - a 1-1 draw against Finland at a World Cup 2018 qualifier and have since taken part in Euro 2020 qualification and now the UEFA Nations League.
Bernard Challandes may not have been a household name before this passionate news conference, but he has the golden touch in regards to handling Kosovo.
The 68-year-old also has turned consequences around and has been handed the reins. He had no real playing career to speak of, playing in the championships that are Swiss, but has had a lengthy managerial career.
He has also handled Armenia but resigned to meet the requirements for Euro 2016, has taken charge of the U21s of Switzerland and has been in control of a plethora of Swiss teams, such as Young Boys.
He won the league with FC Zurich in 2009 and the club made their debut the season. The Cup was won by him using Sion in 2011.
Challandes' arrival as Albert Bunjaki's successor in 2018 has turned the fortunes of Kosovo around. They are unbeaten in 15 matches, winning 10 of them, and are in with a real shot of making next summer's finals, with lovers dubbing them 'Brazil of the Balkans'.
Their form allowed them to top their Nations League team, so they're guaranteed a place, and they are also horses at England's Group A, having conquered on the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
A 2-1 home triumph over the Czech Republic at the weekend made it 15 games unbeaten, the longest such run in Europe.
They are currently 120th at the FIFA world rankings, Bulgaria are 60th and while Czech Republic are 43rd.
One of the most recognisable titles is that of Sheffield Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu, who's a goal man using his 6ft 6ins height and brute strength.
Bersant Celina will be a familiar face. He plays Championship side Swansea having started out at Manchester City.
Reporter's opinion - Kaveh Solhekol and Mark McAdam
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol was Bernard Challandes' pre-match news seminar: Below are his ideas...
Kosovo playing England's significance cannot be overestimated. There's a special bond between the countries ever since UK-backed NATO bombing against Serbian targets in 1999 contributed to independence for Kosovo.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair remains a respected figure there and Tony and Tonibler were some of the most well-known names for baby boys in Kosovo.
Manager Bernard Challandes was asked concerning the bond between Kosovo and the united kingdom however he only wanted to discuss soccer. He is hoping his game program will"disturb" England and that he believes his players will not be underestimated with their competitors.
There ought to be no danger of this. Gareth Southgate is expecting this to be his side's toughest test up to now in qualifying. Kosovo have not lost for almost two years and their 15-match unbeaten run would be the greatest in European football.
No matter the result, spare a thought for the man who will sit alongside Challandes again in the press conference to translate his words into Albanian. Challandes speaks English so much and so quickly in order to have a chance his translator has to stop him. Let's hope England's defenders have a night at St. Mary's.
Sky Sports News reporter Mark McAdam also spoke to Kosovo gamers Bersant Celina and Elbasan Rashani to receive their thoughts before the England battle...
Three years ago, there was not a Kosovo sidethere is. And boy have they declared themselves. Unbeaten in 15 matches over a couple of decades, their rise on the stage is just short of miraculous. Up next a match the players describe as their"biggest ever" - England.
They will be facing a team filled with star players that they see every week at the Premier League. Daunted? No. Worried? No. Excited? Yes. But for them that is just another game.
I met two of their stars, Bersant Celina a participant dubbed the Kosovo team's brain, and his roommate Elbasan Rashani, known as Elba, currently playing in Norway.
They have been relaxed and focused on the task at hand. As though it was school prep diagrams were featured by their notes to the match from the manager to the side. You would not have believed they were 24 hours away from playing at the biggest game in their own lives.
We chatted about everything from household life to club soccer and their manager, because he is in the dressing area, that they say is the exact same in the front of the media. Passionate is a understatement. Who'd dare to argue with him at this time? He's currently masterminding the unthinkable.
When their English isn't as great as they think it should be the two lads smile with every response they joke with each other, but they can hold their own. They know more about the history of the nation, they've seen the films, listened to the stories, relived the moments.
The family members shortly get from the success of the team, seeing grandparents and their children playing for the country. The players take all this in their stride. They are respectful modest and aware of what this signifies. However, for them it is simply another game.
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