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Albania vs England: Predictions
The Three Lions cruised to a 5-0 victory over San Marino in their opening match on Thursday, with goals from James Ward-Prowse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (x2), Raheem Sterling and Ollie Watkins getting the job done. That said, they would have had a few more if not for the heroic efforts of Elia Benedettini in the San Marinese goal. Gareth Southgate rotated heavily for that tie at Wembley and is likely to restore the likes of Harry Kane, Harry Maguire and Declan Rice to the starting XI for the considerably tougher test of Albania.
Edoardo Reja’s side are also looking to make it two wins from two after beating Andorra in their opening qualifier, though they could only manage a 1-0 victory over Group I’s other minnows. Even so, that result extended Albania’s unbeaten run to five games, during which they’ve kept three clean sheets. The Red and Blacks are likely to deploy an extremely defensive system in a bid to frustrate England, so there will be plenty for Kane and Co to think about.
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Albania vs England: Match Stats
Albania have never made it to the World Cup finals, winning just 18 of their 104 qualifiers to date. That said, they managed 13 points from 10 games during the 2018 qualification cycle to finish third, their best placing since the 1986 qualifiers. The Red and Blacks do head into this game on a three-game winning streak, beating Kazakhstan, Lithuania and, most recently, Andorra.
Harry Kane has more assists (13) than any other Premier League player this season, while he’s the joint-highest goalscorer in the English top-flight (17) as well. He sat out the win over San Marino but is sure to be restored to the starting XI here. England have won their two games since a damaging Nations League defeat to Belgium in November, beating Iceland (4-0) and San Marino (5-0) without conceding a goal. The Three Lions have a 100% record against Albania.
05 September 2001 – England 2-0 Albania (World Cup Qualifying)
28 March 2001 – Albania 1-3 England (World Cup Qualifying)
26 April 1989 – England 5-0 Albania (World Cup Qualifying)
08 March 1989 – Albania 0-2 England (World Cup Qualifying)
This is just the fifth meeting between these two nations and the first since September 2001. Each of the previous four have taken place in World Cup qualifying, with England winning them all by an aggregate score of 12-1.