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ENGLAND head to Albania for the second game of their World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
The Three Lions kicked off their campaign in style on Thursday night with a 5-0 win over European minnows San Marino.
Ollie Watkins scored a last-minute debut goal for England as they beat San Marino 5-0Credit: Reuters
Gareth Southgate’s men can expect sterner opposition when they make the 2,000-mile roundtrip to Albania on Sunday.
Here’s all you need to know about the next match in England’s journey to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
What time does Albania vs England kick off?
- The World Cup qualifier kicks off at 5pm UK time on Saturday, March 28.
- The match will take place at Arena Kombetare in Tirana.
- The two teams are in Group I of Uefa’s World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
What channel is Albania vs England on and can it be streamed?
- Albania vs England will be shown live on ITV on Sunday, March 28,
- Coverage starts at 4:10pm and the match kicking off at 5pm.
- The game will also be streamed live on the ITV Hub.
Who else are in England’s group?
Joining England and Albania in their World Cup qualifying group are Poland, Hungary, Andorra and San Marino.
Hungary and Poland played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in Budapest on Thursday, with a late goal from star striker Robert Lewandowski ensuring the Poles went home with a point.
England’s opponents on Sunday evening got their campaign off to a winning start after they beat Andorra 1-0 away from home.
What can we expect from the hosts?
Albania is ranked 66th in the men’s FIFA World Rankings and finished top of their Nations League group last year.
Albania beat Andorra 1-0 in their first World Cup qualifierCredit: Reuters
The team are managed by veteran Italian manager Edoardo Reja, who has been in charge of the national team since 2019.
Their squad features talented centre-back Marash Kumbulla who plays for Roma in Serie A, Napoli right-back Elseid Hysaj and Chelsea youngster Armando Broja.
England have won all four of their previous encounters with Albania, with the last match played between the two nations taking place in September 2001 when England ran out 2-0 winners.
What is the team news?
Harry Kane was rested in the victory over San Marino on Thursday night and Gareth Southgate is likely to restore the England captain to the starting XI in Tirana.
Harry Maguire, Declan Rice and Phil Foden all started the Wembley win on the bench and will be hoping to start England’s second Group I game from the off.
13 Henderson, 22 Johnstone, 12 Trippier, 14 Lingard, 15 Coady, 16 James, 17 Ward-Prowse, 18 Calvert-Lewin, 19 Mings, 20 Chilwell, 21 Watkins, 23 Bellingham
Gareth Southgate makes six changes to the side that started against San Marino on Thursday, three of which come in his back four. Kyle Walker and Luke Shaw are the full-backs in place of Chelsea pair Reece James and Ben Chilwell while it’s Harry Maguire who partners John Stones in the centre instead of Conor Coady. In midfield, Declan Rice gets the nod over James Ward-Prowse while Phil Foden and Harry Kane replace Jesse Lingard and Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front. It’s another 4-3-3 formation for Southgate with Kane captaining the team.
1 Pope; 2 Walker, 6 Maguire, 5 Stones, 3 Shaw; 4 Rice, 8 Phillips, 11 Mount; 7 Foden,, 9 Kane, 10 Sterling
12 Selmani, 23 Strakosha, 3 Lenjani, 8 Gjasula, 9 Memushaj, 10 Manaj, 13 AJeti, 15 Hoxhallari, 19 Doka, 20 Ramadani, 21 Kallaku, 22 Kamberi
1 Berisha; 4 Hysaj, 18 Ismajli, 6 Djimsiti, 5 Veseli; 14 Laci, 7 Bare, 2 Memolla; 11 Uzuni, 16 Cikalleshi, 17 Broja
GOOD AFTERNOON FROM TIRANA
Welcome to our live coverage of the World Cup qualifier between Albania and England.
After the challenge of San Marino, it’s the Albanians next for the Three Lions in Group I – otherwise known as ‘The Group of Life.’
Albania, of course, will provide a much sterner test, having evolved into a perfectly competent football nation over the past 25 years.
And Edoardo Reja’s team’s arguably had the more impressive result with their 1-0 victory in Andorra last time out, and have now won their last four games on the international stage.
However, the knee injury sustained to Roma centre-back Marash Kumbulla on Thursday is a huge blow to the Eagles’ hopes of avoiding defeat against England for the first time.
Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate is expected to make changes to his side with three games now scheduled for each country over these international breaks.
However, Nick Pope will remain in goal in the continued absence of the injured Jordan Pickford, and could become the first England keeper in history to keep clean sheets in each of his first six matches for his country.
At the other end of the pitch, Harry Kane is in line for a recall. The England captain has scored in his last seven qualifiers away from home, the longest ever such run by a Three Lions player.
We’ll have confirmation of today’s two teams shortly with the action due underway at the Air Albania Stadium at 5pm.
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