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France Plays Andorra's National Anthem for Albania Ahead of Football Match, Then Apologises to 'Armenia'

The start of the match at Stade de France was delayed for about 10 minutes, and the right anthem then played. Albanian players looked bemused — and fans angry — when Andorra's anthem was played instead of Albania's.


Updated:September 9, 2019, 9:19 AM IST
France Plays Andorra's National Anthem for Albania Ahead of Football Match, Then Apologises to 'Armenia'
Referees and Albania's soccer team stand during Albania's national anthem, after the wrong one was playing, during of the Euro 2020 group H qualifying soccer match between France and Albania at the Stade de France in Saint Denis, north of Paris, France. (Image: AP)

Tirana (Albania): In an embarrassing mix-up, the wrong national anthem was played for Albania before it faced France in a European Championship qualifier on Saturday.

Players looked bemused as they realized it was the wrong anthem — Andorra's, according to UEFA's website — with camera images showing angry Albanian fans making offensive gestures in protest at the error.

France coach Didier Deschamps spoke with Albania coach Edoardo Reja as referee Jesús Gil Manzano waited several minutes for the right anthem to be played at Stade de France before starting the game — which was delayed by nearly 10 minutes.

Then, when the correct anthem was about to be played there was another embarrassing incident as the stadium announcer apologized to "Armenia's fans" and called on fans to respect the "Armenia national anthem" before realizing his glaring mistake and saying Albania.

After the embarrassing gaffe, Albania's prime minister said French President Emmanuel Macron has apologised to him.

Edi Rama tweeted on Sunday that Macron expressed "his sincere apology for the scandalous gaffe of the French Football Federation with our National Flag anthem!"

France won the Group H game in Paris 4-1 and its next opponent is Andorra at home on Tuesday.

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