After a 4-0 triumph over Bulgaria, Gareth Southgate’s side have a quick turn around for their second game of the international break. England head to the south coast to face Kosovo, in what could be their toughest test of their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign so far.
England Face Toughest Test Yet Against Kosovo
A Tougher Game Than Expected
The visitors are still relatively new to international football, having seen their membership to FIFA accepted in 2016. As a result, it will be the first time that England will have played Kosovo.
However, Kosovo will provide a tougher game than expected at St Mary’s. They currently lie second in Group A, one point behind the Three Lions. Their 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic did see them overtake England as leaders of the group. However, England’s victory over Bulgaria saw them return to top spot.
A number of their squad are also familiar to English football. Manchester City Arijanet Muric is currently on loan at Championship club Nottingham Forest and has made six appearances for his national side. As well as the 20-year-old, Sheffield Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu has 14 caps for Kosovo, and Bersant Celina of Swansea City and Florent Hadergjonaj are also capped.
England Team News
After an emphatic win over Bulgaria, only a small number of changes are expected. According to Ben Pringle of The Express, two of the changes are to be in midfield. Jadon Sancho is to replace Marcus Rashford; meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to earn his first England start since returning from injury.
The only other change could see the defence rotated. Trent Alexander-Arnold could earn his seventh England cap as Gareth Southgate looks to find his best right-back option before next years tournament.
England v Kosovo Prediction
Against a team ranked 120th in the FIFA World Rankings, this would be expected to be a routine victory for England. However, Kosovo defeated Czech Republic last time out, who are ranked 43rd in the world. As a result, Kosovo will prove a tougher game than expected for England.
England 2-1 Kosovo