MX23RW : Tuesday, July 27 03:47:50| >> :600:3927072:3927072:
Mar 25, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Estadi Nacional
AndorraAndorra
0-1
AlbaniaAlbania

Vieira (8'), Rebes (26'), Rubio (44')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Lenjani (41')
Memushaj (17'), Cikalleshi (20'), Manaj (53'), Djimsiti (56'), Gjasula (60')

Preview: Andorra vs. Albania - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's World Cup Qualifying - Europe clash between Andorra and Albania, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Andorra will welcome Albania to the Estadi Nacional on Thursday evening as both teams get their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign underway.

The two nations will be joined in Group I by England, Poland, Hungary and San Marino, and they will view this encounter as a good opportunity to get their first points on the board.


Match preview

Andorra manager Koldo Alvarez pictured in September 2020© Reuters

After more than a decade in charge of Andorra, manager Koldo Alvarez has won only three of his 83 matches, last tasting victory in October 2019 against Moldova.

In 2020, the Tricolours picked up only two points in their UEFA Nations League campaign after holding Latvia and Malta to goalless stalemates, finishing rock bottom of League D Group 2.

They now head into their clash with Albania after winning just one of their last 30 World Cup qualifiers, losing 28 of those matches and conceding 92 goals in the process.

Andorra, who are currently 151st in the world rankings, are not expected to qualify from Group I but as long as Alvarez can see signs of improvement then that can be something positive to take from this campaign moving forward.

Albania manager Edoardo Reja pictured on November 15, 2020© Reuters

Albania enter the World Cup qualifiers in high spirits after securing promotion to League B of the UEFA Nations League, winning three and drawing two of their six matches.

Edoardo Reja's side are unbeaten in their last four games and also head into Thursday's clash on their longest ever run without conceding in a competitive away game, keeping clean sheets in each of their last four on the road.

However, they will be wary of Andorra, who scored twice in a 2-2 draw against them during the Euro 2020 qualifiers in November 2019.

Albania, who have never qualified for a World Cup tournament, finished third behind Spain and Italy in their group for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers but will be hoping that they can go one step further and surprise everyone by sneaking into the top two this time around.

Victory against Andorra is imperative if Albania are to have any chance of progressing from Group I and reach their first major tournament since Euro 2016.

Andorra form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Albania form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W


Team News

Albania's Elseid Hysaj in action on October 9, 2017 © Reuters

Andorra captain Marcio Vieira, who made his 100th international appearance in the defeat to Latvia, is set to start in an advanced midfield role just behind lone striker Jordi Alaez.

Midfielder Marc Rebes scored Andorra's last competitive goal in a 3-1 loss to Malta and could keep his place in the starting lineup alongside 38-year-old Marc Pujol.

Albania winger Odise Roshi, who has been injured since October, has been called up to the squad but is unlikely to feature on Thursday.

Napoli's Elseid Hysaj as well as Ermir Lenjani are set to provide width in Reja's side in wing-back roles, while Keidi Bare and Sherif Kallaku could operate in the centre of midfield.

Strikers Sokol Cikalleshi and Rey Manaj, who have 15 international goals between them, are set to partner one another up front, with attacking midfielder Ledian Memushaj expected to play just behind them.

Andorra possible starting lineup:
Gomes; Rubio, San Nicolas, Garcia, Cervos; Martinez, Pujol, Rebes, Monero; Vieira; Alaez

Albania possible starting lineup:
Berisha; Ismajli, Djimsiti, Veseli; Hysaj, Bare, Kallaku, Lenjani; Memushaj; Cikalleshi, Manaj


SM words green background

We say: Andorra 0-2 Albania

Both Andorra and Albania will want to give a good account of themselves in a group that is likely to be a foregone conclusion, but if they are to claim any points then this could be one fixture where they have a chance.

The visitors will be the favourites for Thursday's encounter and should have enough to secure a narrow victory at the Estadi Nacional.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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Head coach of SS Lazio Edy Reja looks on during the Serie A match between AC Chievo Verona and SS Lazio at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on February 2, 2014
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