Matchup at a Glance
When: Tuesday, September 10, 2019, at 02:45 PM
Where: St. Mary’s Stadium, Southampton, England.
Odds: England -2000, Draw +1100, Kosovo +2200 @ Intertops
We can say that England had a walk in the park to easily outplay Bulgaria on Saturday and The Three Lions will hope to remain as confident as they were against the Bulgarians when they take on an inspired Kosovo side on Tuesday, 10 September 2019.
Departing from the legendary Wembley Stadium in London, The Three Lions will host at St. Mary's Stadium in Southampton for the first time since October 2002 when Sven-Goran Eriksson's England, with Gareth Southgate on the bench (as a player), failed to beat FYR Macedonia (2-2) in the UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying.
Seventeen years later Gareth Southgate's side will be keen to avoid a similar scenario against another Balkan side, with Kosovo being second in Group A of the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying.
Furthermore, Kosovo are unbeaten in 15 games (10 wins, 5 draws) – since a 2-0 loss at Iceland in October 2017 – so England have an additional reason why they cannot afford to underestimate their opponents.
England Betting Preview
The Three Lions will return to the south coast for the first time since 2002 and they need to make sure they won't have the same outcome as in the above-mentioned draw against FYR Macedonia.
It will also be England's first home match away from Wembley since a 1-0 friendly win over Switzerland at Leicester City's King Power Stadium on 11 September 2018.
However, they have not played a competitive home game away from London since over a decade (7 October 2006) – another disappointing draw (0-0) against FYR Macedonia at Old Trafford in the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying.
With three out of three, 14 goals scored and a game in hand, England occupies the top position and their play is really impressive. The fact they scored five goals against each Montenegro and the Czech Republic, as well as four against Bulgaria in a game where they were not really vigorous, speaks about their offensive strength.
Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling have both scored five goals in three qualifying games so far and they are once again favorites to build the England attacking trio, with either Marcus Rashford, who started against Bulgaria, and Dortmund's Jadon Sancho in contention to start alongside the prolific pair.
We won't be surprised if Gareth Southgate fields the same 4-3-3 formation but goes out with different full-backs than he used against Bulgaria. Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier, one of the two England players who play abroad, can be replaced by Ben Chilwell and Trent Alexander-Arnold respectively.
In the meantime Harry Maguire and Michael Keane are expected to form the centre-back duo again, unless the latter is not replaced by Joe Gomez. The Liverpool defender can be an option to start at Keane's expense, who probably was England's weakest link against Bulgaria.
Some pundits were surprised that Declan Rice started over Harry Winks at central midfield and even though West Ham United's Rice does not offer the quality of passing of the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, he once again proved to be a “disciplined performer”. These two are again in contention for the third central-midfield spot, if we assume that Liverpool's skipper Jordan Henderson and Chelsea's Ross Barkley will keep their places.
Kyle Walker, John Stones, Luke Shaw, Eric Dier, Dele Alli, and Fabian Delph are some of the recognizable players who have been left out of the England selection for various reasons, while the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard were initially called up but had to leave the squad due to injuries.
Kosovo Betting Preview
Bernard Challandes' side will fly to England following back-to-back wins against Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. The massive 2-1 win over the Czechs on Saturday not only extended their unbeaten run, but it climbed Kosovo to the second spot and they have a wonderful chance to qualify for their first major competition since being recognized as UEFA and FIFA members in 2016.
Furthermore, they can reach the 2020 European Championship finals through two different paths as they were winners of Group 3 of the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League D, collecting 14 points (4-2-0) out of 18 possible and scoring a 15-2 goal difference in six matches. Of course, their campaign in a group alongside Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, and Malta cannot be compared to the current group, though Kosovo carried over their performance but they're yet to face England.
Given the fact that the Czechs are no pushovers, the latest victory of the Dardanians is even more impressive. Though they know they are up against an extremely strong England side on Tuesday night, Challandes' men will harbour hopes of a shock triumph away to one of the world's top soccer sides.
The absence of the Werder Bremen winger Milot Rashica (2 goals in 3 qualifying appearances) is unquestionably the biggest blow to the away side so either Basel's Edon Zhegrova or Hannover 96's Florent Muslija will start at right wing. The former started against the Czech Republic but Muslija came on as a substitute to record his first international appearance.
Vice-captain Valon Berisha is another option to Kosovo's midfield but the lack of first-team football with Italian Lazio is the reason why the Sweden-born Kosovo Albanian only comes on as a substitute.
Vedat Muriqi, who scored in the last two matches, will once again lead the Kosovo attack and the Fenerbahce forward will try to maintain his good form. He has scored three goals in his last four appearances for club and country.
Sheffield Wednesday's striker Atdhe Nuhiu can be an alternative to Muriqi, though Bernard Challandes has no reason to make changes here.
Possible Starting Lineups of England and Kosovo
England: Jordan Pickford – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire, Michael Keane, Ben Chilwell – Jordan Henderson, Harry Winks, Ross Barkley – Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling. (4-3-3)
Kosovo: Arijanet Muric – Mergim Vojvoda, Amir Rrahmani, Fidan Aliti, Florent Hadergjonaj – Besar Halimi, Idriz Voca – Florent Muslija, Bersant Celina, Elba Rashani – Vedat Muriqi. (4-2-3-1)
One year after their memorable World Cup journey, The Three Lions failed to win the UEFA Nations League, finishing third, yet this England generation has tons of talent and looks devoted enough to build on.
Indeed, Gareth Southgate is admittedly one of the luckiest managers across Europe right now and all players are ready to work hard for the England cause.
The exceptionally talented and wide national pool is an additional reason for their willingness to serve well and to score as much as possible. That's why we don't expect a drop in their performance, though England are red-hot favorites to beat Kosovo, and Southgate's side will try to achieve another comfortable win with a few goals margin.
Kosovo, on the other hand, should go into the clash in high spirits after collecting eight points from their first four qualifying games and they actually have nothing to lose against their toughest opposition so far.
The odds on Both teams to score have significantly decreased over the last weekend (in all European bookies) but we still fancy the odds on this market and we recommend betting on goals here.
Kosovo's enthusiasm and spirit is much higher than of Bulgaria right now and the fact that even the Bulgarians managed to create a few good scoring chances is a reason to believe that Kosovo will have their scoring opportunities as well. And they do have the potential to realize at least one of them.