Both sides still have plenty to play for as Kosovo host England and, like their first meeting, we're backing goals in this final Euro 2020 qualifier.
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It’s job done already for England, but that doesn’t mean they can’t put on a show in their final game against a lively Kosovo side who still have a play-off place to fight for.
As well as the occasion of the Balkan nation welcoming the mighty England and fighting for that play-off place, the Three Lions also have top seeding for the Euro 2020 draw to play for, so it’s anything but a dead rubber.
Gareth Southgate will make changes, a certain Raheem Sterling is due to return to the starting line-up, although he’ll have to go some to do better than Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane did during the 7-0 win over Montenegro.
Kosovo may have failed to qualify automatically, but they’ve been entertaining and impressive during the campaign – and who could forget their gung-ho attitude and attacking spirit during their 5-3 defeat against England at Southampton.
Those three away goals were the most England had conceded on home soil in 12 years, and at home Kosovo are just as dangerous – scoring at least twice in seven of the last nine.
Kosovo are unbeaten on home turf in this campaign while England’s lone defeat came on the road in Prague, and even in a 7-0 victory on Thursday they gave up enough guilt-edged chances to believe that the hosts will again have a great chance of finding the net.
It’s likely that Southgate will opt for a safer option in midfield to try and offer a safety blanket to his problem area at the heart of the defence, but Kosovo have scored in 14 straight games and there’s every chance they can extend that run in Pristina.
The Sterling saga seems to have ironically galvanised this group, and going into a fiery atmosphere against a committed and attack-minded opposition will be a decent test for Southgate's side, with changes including the return of Sterling hardly weakening them.
So the expectation is that England can sign-off with another win, and goals will surely flow with the Three Lions averaging 4.6 goals per game this campaign, with them sticking at least four in during their last two first halves.
Kosovo will fancy a goal, and as stated they should have enough to get one, as they'll continue to attack throughout the 90 minutes, but that go-forward attitude will also give a pacy and clinical England plenty of space to add to their impressive goal tally.
Prediction: Kosovo 1-3 England (Sky Bet odds: 12/1)
Odds correct as of 0935 on 16/11/19
Kosovo v England Opta stats
- This will be just the second ever meeting between England and Kosovo, with the only previous one coming earlier in this EURO 2020 qualifying campaign (a 5-3 win for England in September).
- England have only lost one of their last 24 competitive away games (W16 D7) – a 1-2 defeat in Prague against Czech Republic last month. The Three Lions have conceded in just nine games in this run, keeping a clean sheet on 15 occasions.
- Kosovo were beaten by Czech Republic in their most recent qualifier, while they haven’t lost consecutive games across all competitions since October 2017 (a run of nine straight defeats).
- England have netted 13 goals since last conceding one themselves, courtesy of their 6-0 and 7-0 wins against Bulgaria and Montenegro. Only once previously have England managed to score six or more goals in three consecutive games, doing so back in June 1908.
- England have scored 34 goals in just nine games in 2019 – only in 1908 (39) and 1966 (38) have they scored more in a calendar year.
- Harry Kane’s hat-trick against Montenegro last time out moved him on to 31 goals for England, making him one of only six players to have netted more than 30 for the Three Lions (after Wayne Rooney, Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker, Jimmy Greaves and Michael Owen).
- England captain Harry Kane has scored 11 goals for his country in 2019 – only George Hilsdon in 1908 and Dixie Dean in 1927 (both 12) have scored more in a single year for the Three Lions.
- Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane have combined on six England goals in EURO 2020 qualifying, with both players providing three assists for each other. In 477 minutes on the pitch together in this campaign, they have averaged a goal combination once every 80 minutes played.
- Vedat Muriqi has been directly involved in six of Kosovo’s last 10 goals in this EURO 2020 qualifying campaign, scoring four goals and providing two assists.