England travel to Tirana to face Albania on Sunday as they look to make it two wins from two in their World Cup qualifiers.
Gareth Southgate’s team kicked off their campaign with a 5-0 win over minnows San Marino, with the manager able to rest several first-choice players. Albania also won their opening game, beating Andorra 1-0.
It’s the first time the two teams have met since a 2001 World Cup qualifier, where goals from Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler earned the Three Lions a 2-0 win at St. James’ Park, but Albania are a much better side than they were back then and come into this game having won their last four.
When is the match? Sunday 28th March
What time is kick-off? 17:00 GMT
Where is it being played? Arena Kombetare
TV Channel: ITV (UK)
Referee: Orel Grinfeeld (ISR)
The hosts come into the game with a fully fit squad of 23 to choose from following the win over Andorra. Ermir Lenjani should keep his place at left wing-back, with Albania tending to go with a 3-5-2 formation for the majority of their games.
England will be without Marcus Rashford for the game, after the winger returned to Manchester United to continue treatment on a foot injury. Bukayo Saka and Kyle Walker both missed the win over San Marino with injuries and are doubts for the game, but other than that Southgate has plenty of options.
Harry Kane, Declan Rice and Harry Maguire were rested for the game but should come back into the side while Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Mason Mount were substituted at half-time too. James Ward-Prowse and Jude Bellingham got 45 minutes each and both impressed, so either could start in midfield.
Albania: Berisha; Veseli, Kumbulla, Djimisti; Hysaj, Bare, Laci, Memushaj, Lenjani; Manaj, Cikalleshi
England: Pope; James, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Mount, Bellingham; Sterling, Kane, Foden
Andorra 0-1 Albania (25/3)
Albania 3-2 Belarus (18/11)
Albania 3-1 Kazakhstan (15/11)
Albania 2-1 Kosovo (11/11)
Lithuania 0-0 Albania (14/10)
England 5-0 San Marino (25/3)
England 4-0 Iceland (18/11)
Belgium 2-0 England (15/11)
England 3-0 Rep. Ireland (12/11)
England 0-1 Denmark (14/10)
Despite the home side being in good form, England should win this one fairly comfortably. The Three Lions are in good form with lots of players playing at a high level currently, with plenty of options in several positions.
Albania were able to hold Andorra to just one shot on target and only 84 passes completed in their midweek game and will be a much more competitive opponent than San Marino were, but the gap in quality is still surely too big to overcome.
A well rested team should be able to turn up in Tirana and put their defence to the sword with a good attacking display, with Kane likely to find the back of the net for his country for the first time since 2019.
Prediction: Albania 0-3 England