England complete their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a first ever trip to Pristina to face Kosovo in the Fadil Vokrri Stadium, looking for the points to ensure top spot in Group A.
England have had a reasonably comfortable campaign to make it to Euro 2020, scoring five goals against each of their Group A opponents on at least one occasion. The only blip on their record was a disappointing 2-1 defeat in Prague against the Czech Republic. Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling have been scoring the goals for the Three Lions, however, defensively they have not looked solid, which was highlighted when they faced Kosovo at home in September and conceded three goals.
Kosovo have won a lot of praise for their approach to games and attacking style of football. They have secured historic wins against Bulgaria, Montenegro, and the Czech Republic, and will prove to be a danger to England in Pristina, as they were when the nations met last time.
The only other meeting, a 5-3 thriller
Kosovo and England have met just once with the game taking place at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium. In their first appearance in England as a country, Kosovo made a dream start, Valon Berisha capitalised on some poor England defending to score within 60 seconds. However, England hit back quickly and were 5-1 up by half-time thanks to goals from Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, Jadon Sancho (2) and a Mergim Vojvoda own goal.
Kosovo came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, scoring twice within the first ten minutes of the re-start; Berisha got his second of the game before Vedat Muriqi scored from the penalty spot to make the score 5-3.
Harry Kane then missed a penalty for the Three Lions but there were no more goals on an incredible night of international football.
Will Southgate pick Sterling?
Will Raheem Sterling return to the England line-up? That will be the question everyone will be asking prior to the game.
Depending on what England need from the game to ensure qualification, Gareth Southgate will go with his strongest side, or he may choose to blood some of the young talent that is within the England squad. The same applies for Kosovo, if they still have a chance of going above the Czech Republic to qualify for Euro 2020, Bernard Challandes will ensure his strongest side is available.
Expect more goals
Apart from that one defeat in Prague, England have been very impressive away from Wembley during this campaign, winning 5-1 in Montenegro and 6-0 in Bulgaria. From what was seen in September, Kosovo will look to attack England, which will make for a very entertaining game. We see England being too good and getting the win, perhaps by a couple of goals, but this is a game that is likely to produce goals again.
Expect the likes of Mason Mount to enjoy some free space in midfield and he could well add to his tally of four goals for the Three Lions in this campaign. Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling will be dangerous on the counter-attack for England, and the return of Callum Hudson-Odoi just adds to the speed the visitors will have.
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