England VS Kosovo, England is expected higher

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Match Time: 9/11/2019 02:45 Wednesday (GMT+8)

UEFA European Championship -- England VS Kosovo

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England will be looking to make it four wins from their first four Euro 2020 qualification matches when they take on Kosovo at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium on Tuesday night.  The Three Lions beat Bulgaria 4-0 on Saturday to move to the top of Group A - one point clear of Kosovo, who have won two and drawn two of their four qualification matches thus far. 

 

Match preview 

England were fairly disappointing in the first period of Saturday's clash with Bulgaria despite leading at the interval courtesy of a Harry Kane penalty. Two early second-half goals put some gloss on the scoreline, though, before Kane completed his hat-trick late on to make it a four-goal success.  It was a result that saw Gareth Southgate's side move to the top of Group A ahead of Kosovo, having collected nine points from their three matches in the section. Impressively, the Three Lions have netted 14 times in the group and conceded just once - proving far too strong for the competition thus far.  Having put five past Czech Republic and five past Montenegro in their March fixtures, England put another strong score on the board last time out. Tuesday's match is huge in terms of topping the section before facing Czech Republic and Bulgaria on their travels next month.  The Three Lions have reached the quarter-finals and round of 16 in their last two European Championships, but it would be fair to say that their semi-final appearance at the 2018 World Cup has raised expectations. Winning Euro 2020 is a tall order, although few teams will want to take on Southgate's side.  England won all 10 of their group matches during qualification for Euro 2016, and it would not be a surprise if the nation also posted a perfect record at the end of this particular section. Tougher tests are ahead, though, and there remain question marks over this team against the very best sides that the continent has to offer.   

 

As mentioned, Kosovo had been at the top of Group A before England beat Bulgaria on Saturday. An impressive qualification campaign thus far has seen Dardanet win two and draw two of their four matches, collecting eight points to sit just one point off the top as things stand.  Kosovo only gained UEFA and FIFA official membership in 2016, and after some terrible early results, the national team have put together an incredible run of form. They are unbeaten since October 2017, winning 10 of their last 15 matches during a very impressive period.  Bernard Challandes's side topped their UEFA Nations League group with four wins from six matches, while they drew 2-2 with Denmark ahead of the start of their Euro 2020 qualification campaign.  After draws with Bulgaria and Montenegro, Kosovo beat Bulgaria and Czech Republic to move onto eight points in the section. It is a big ask to pick up a positive result on Tuesday night, but their next Group A clash after this one is on home soil against Montenegro on October 14, which will be seen as a winnable fixture.  Despite being underdogs for this match, Kosovo's squad is full of individuals that operate at a high level - including three English-based players in the shape of Arijanet Muric, Florent Hadergjonaj and Atdhe Nuhiu, in addition to Swansea City attacker Bersant Celina, who will be desperate to make his mark. 

 

England form: WWW 

Kosovo form: DDWW 

 

 

Team News 

Manchester United pair Jesse Lingard and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were both forced to pull out of the squad last week due to illness and injury respectively.  It seems unlikely that Southgate will make too many changes from the Bulgaria clash, although it would not be a surprise to see the head coach freshen the team with a couple of new players.  Ross Barkley and Marcus Rashford are perhaps the likeliest to drop out, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jadon Sancho both pushing for spots in the starting XI.  The back four and goalkeeper should remain unchanged, although Trent Alexander-Arnold for Kieran Trippier would not be a surprising alteration considering the circumstances.  Kane and Raheem Sterling will both keep their spots in the final third, though, with the pair starting to form an impressive relationship for the English national team.  As for Kosovo, head coach Challandes has no fresh injury concerns from the team that recorded a 2-1 win over Czech Republic on Saturday night.  Celina supported Vedat Muriqi in the final third last time out and that is again expected to be here, with Idriz Voca and Besar Halimi holding the midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation.  Manchester City's Muric is also expected to get the nod between the sticks despite the presence of the experienced Samir Ujkani, who plays his club football for Torino. 

 

England possible starting lineup: Pickford; Trippier, Keane, Maguire, Rose; Rice, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Sancho, Sterling, Kane 

Kosovo possible starting lineup: Muric; Vojvoda, Rhahmani, Aliti, Hadergjonaj; Voca, Halimi; Zhegrova, Celina, Rashani; Muriqi    

 

England VS Kosovo

Handicap Pick: England -2.5

 

England VS Kosovo, England is expected higher

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