Prediction: England to Win 3-0
England and Albania will both be aiming to keep up their perfect start to their 2022 World Cup qualification campaigns as they come together in Tirana on Sunday.
The two sides kicked off qualification with a victory each and will of course be aiming to keep that form up as next year’s showpiece tournament draws ever closer.
Edoardo Reja’s men are certainly in fine form as they prepare to take on the Three Lions. Following their 1-0 victory against Andorra last time out, coming courtesy of Ermir Lenjani’s solitary strike, they have now won their last four games in all competitions. It is the longest winning run in the nation’s history since 2010. Should they beat England on Sunday then it would become the first time ever that they have won five consecutive matches. Of course, a victory would go a long way in pushing them another step towards potentially qualifying for the World Cup. With the Three Lions arguably the toughest opponent in Group I of the qualifying, three points might be massively useful in the nation booking a ticket to their first ever tournament. Their current winning run is also part of an impressive accumulation of results stretching all the way back to 2018. Albania have not lost two consecutive matches in 28 months whilst having only lost one out of their last eight matches.
Reja does not have any injury worries to contend with for the game against the Three Lions. No injuries were sustained against Andorra so the hosts should be at full strength.
The Three Lions had a relatively worry-free evening against European minnows San Marino last time out with a 5-0 victory – the goals coming from James Ward-Prowse, Raheem Sterling, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ollie Watkins. It was of course the perfect start to another World Cup campaign for Gareth Southgate’s troops as they aim to book their place at their seventh-consecutive World Cup. Another victory against San Marino means that the Three Lions are now undefeated in each of their last 22 World Cup qualifiers – a run that stretches all the way back to 2009 and a slender defeat against Ukraine. As a matter of fact, England have now won each of their last five World Cup qualifiers, scoring 13 goals and conceding just one in that time. Should they beat Albania and claim a clean sheet, it would also become the first time that they have won three consecutive qualifiers to nil since 1997.
There are still a few injury problems in the Three Lions camp, especially in attacking positions. Despite still being included in the squad, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka are doubts for the game once again. Southgate could be tempted to reintroduce some of his key players after he rested Harry Kane and Harry Maguire against San Marino on Thursday evening.
Key Facts To Consider
- England have won each of the four meetings between the two sides
- The Three Lions have claimed clean sheets in three out of those four matches
- England have not scored in each of their last two away international matches
- The most amount of qualifiers that Albania have won in a single campaign is four
- Albania have won their last three matches on home soil
Whilst this game should be slightly more difficult than against San Marino last time, England should still have no problem in securing the three points. The hosts will certainly not be pushovers but with a much stronger starting XI, it should be a relatively straight-forward evening for the Three Lions.
Prediction: England to Win 3-0
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