Kick-off: 1945, 12/11/2021
England have made hard work of getting over the finishing line in the race to reach Qatar 2022 but should edge closer by beating Albania.
The Three Lions are three points ahead of Poland and five clear of their next opponents in World Cup Group I, so Gareth Southgate won’t want any late drama.
We’re expecting a professional display at Wembley and 19/20 for a home win by 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 is our first England vs Albania prediction.
England looked set to cruise through this pool when rattling off five straight wins, including a 2-0 victory over Albania in Tirana.
However, there have since been 1-1 draws with Poland and Hungary, either side of a 5-0 romp away to Andorra.
Southgate responded by recalling some of his most trusted allies and is clearly taking no chances at this stage, with Monday’s trip to San Marino the final fixture.
Manchester United pair Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw, Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse and Chelsea’s Mason Mount did not report for duty.
Even so, Southgate will have an experienced and solid spine to his team at Wembley.
He told the FA website: “We have trust in this group, we know the level they can get to.
“We know the experience that they have and we have picked the players we feel at this moment in time are best placed to help us do that job.
“In the end, we have to get the right results and we have faith in these players to get us over the line to qualification.”
Looking at the England vs Albania odds, the Three Lions were 1-0 up at half-time when these sides met in March and it is 19/10 for that to happen again.
Albania have never qualified for a World Cup tournament but did make it to Euro 2016 and appear back on an upward curve.
They won a Nations League C-level group and can be pleased with five wins from eight outings in this pool.
However, although doing the double over Hungary is a fine effort, the red and blacks have had their limitations exposed by the top two in the table.
Harry Kane and Mount did the damage for England in Tirana while Poland have beaten Albania 4-1 at home and 1-0 away.
Southampton’s promising young forward Armando Broja is a familiar face and a number of defensive players ply their trade in Serie A.
That suggests the visitors should be well-drilled and not easy to break down.
With the likes of Kane and Raheem Sterling out of sorts at club level, we’ll settle for a routine 2-0 home win at 19/5.
ENGLAND 1-1 Hungary – John Stones
ALBANIA 0-1 Poland
Head-to-head: Albania 0-2 England
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