With the final set of fixtures before a prolonged break, International football returns this week. This set of fixtures has major implications for which nations head to Qatar, so for today’s tip, we’re focusing on the fixture between England and Albania at Wembley Stadium.
England are facing Albania in the hope of topping Group I. After eight matchdays, they have a 100% record in the qualifying process - six victories and two draws. However, England’s two draws have come in the last three, so, is this Southgate team losing momentum in World Cup qualifiers? I doubt it.
Despite losing the likes of Mason Mount, Marcus Rashford, James Ward-Prowse and Luke Shaw, other English players have the chance to shine in this set of internationals. One name to keep an eye on is Tammy Abraham. The former Chelsea, now Roma, striker has been called up and could have a part to play.
Albania themselves have something to play for during this final round of fixtures. The Red and Blacks are sitting third in Group I but they could jump into a playoff place with a pair of victories. Results would need to go their way but Albania will be hoping to shock the world and bolster their chances of qualifying when they travel to Wembley.
Albania has some players to look out for if you’re England. Defensively, Eton Berisha will start in goal and Kumbulla will start at the back. Djimsiti will miss out due to injury and Elsed Hysaj will have to be careful as he is one game away from suspension. Armando Broja will be one to watch in the attacking line when these teams face off.
History suggests England will win this fixture - and comfortably. The Three Lions haven’t tasted defeat this qualifying season, and they have never been defeated by Albania. Gareth Southgate’s side may have had a few slip-ups with draws against Hungary and Poland but they’ve also shown they can dispatch smaller sides.
Whereas Albania have surprised many in the qualifiers. They were beaten by England earlier in the process - a 2-0 defeat at home - but they have beaten Hungary home and away to give themselves an outside shot of a play off place.
The history of this fixture suggests England will secure the victory. England could flex their attacking muscles and slot quite a few past Albania and they shouldn’t struggle defensively. So, we’re predicting England to win, both teams won’t score and over 2.5 goals with BetUK at 7/4.