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England managed two wins out of two in qualifying for the World Cup and secured a 2-0 win against Albania in Tirana on Sunday night.
It took until the 38th minute of the game for the Three Lions to finally find a starter when Harry Kane nodded in the center of Luke Shaw. Mason Mount then doubled the lead just after the break when he reached the end of a cold ball from Kane and stroked a big shot into the far corner to secure three points for Gareth Southgate’s men.
Here are three things we learned from the game:
Kane returns to the path of the goals of England
Despite Kane’s impressive season with Tottenham Hotspur in 2020/21 in which he has managed to find the net 27 times in all competitions, it was somewhat surprising to find that he had not scored for his nation in 16 months. His last goal for England came in a 4-0 win against Kosovo in qualifying for Euro 2020 six games ago.
However, the Three Lions captain showed no signs of rust when he scored the opening goal with a fantastic acrobatic header from Shaw’s center. Now with 33 goals for his country, he hopes to add to that when England take on Poland on Wednesday night. As it stands, Southgate’s men sit at a price of 2/5 with Betfair to win that particular showdown at Wembley Stadium.
Shaw takes club form on the international stage
While Kane has always been around for England in recent years, though not on goal track, one man who has been out of the Three Lions’ calculations for an extended period has been left-back Shaw. Due to a combination of persistent injury concerns, lack of form and, of course, increased competition at the left-back position, the Manchester United defender had not won a single international match since September 2018.
However, having been impressive for the Red Devils during the 2020/21 campaign, he did enough to impress Southgate to start against Albania and continued his best form in Tirana. Claiming a clean sheet, the 25-year-old contributed three tackles and two punts in what was an impressive defensive performance, though not against the highest quality of opposition.
To cap off his evening, Shaw also managed to obtain an aid in his name with an evil cross that was emphatically dispatched by Kane. Interestingly, he has now scored a goal in his last four competitive England matches, a form that he will undoubtedly look to continue if he wants to keep his place.
Albania’s impressive run comes to an end
While the game’s stats weigh heavily in England’s favor, as the hosts only had 28% possession and failed to get a single shot on goal, it was a solid performance in all respects from Edoardo Reja’s troops. They kept their far more illustrious visitors at arm’s length for most of the game with just an excellent header from Kane and a costly error.
Of course, it will be very disappointing that the nation’s four-game winning streak has come to an end, the longest winning streak they have managed to rack up since 2010, but more performances like this will not reduce their chances of reaching Qatar. damage of any kind.
With San Marino to come, Albania will certainly hope to get back on the winning track sooner rather than later and, indeed, get closer to a 2022 FIFA World Cup ticket.
Albania: Berisha (7); Ismajli (6), Hysaj (6), Djimsiti (6), Veseli (6); Naked (5) (Memushaj (5), 71 ′), Memolla (5), Laci (5), Broja (6) (Gjasula (5), 59 ′); Cikalleshi (6) (Manaj (5), 59 ′), Uzuni (5).
England: Potato (6); Shaw (7), Maguire (6), Piedras (7), Walker (6); Rice (6), Phillips (6) (Ward-Prowse (6), 71 ′), Mount (7); Foot (6) (Lingard (N / A), 81 ‘), Sterling (6), Kane (8)
Goals: Kane (38 ′), Monte (63 ′)
Referee: Orel Grinfeld
Yellow cards: Naked (21 ′), Walker (69 ′), Kane (73 ′), Hysaj (79 ′), Gjasula (90 ′)
Red cards: ARRIVE