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Preview: England Under-21s vs. Albania Under-21s - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: England Under-21s vs. Albania Under-21s - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's European Under-21 Championship clash between England Under-21s and Albania Under-21s, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

England Under-21s play host to Albania Under-21s on Tuesday evening knowing that a win will all but guarantee their qualification for the European Championship.

The Young Lions defeated rivals Czech Republic on Friday, leaving them requiring just four points from three games to earn another appearance at a major tournament.

Match preview

There have been times during this qualification campaign when England have looked far from the side which should be dominating this group.

However, Lee Carsley's team have got the job done at the right moments, the latest of those coming in Ceske Budejovice on Friday evening as they posted a 2-1 win over their nearest competitiors.

Goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Jacob Ramsey by the 46th minute proved decisive, putting their team in a position where one more victory should be enough to earn their spot in the Finals.

Although Czech Republic's final fixture is at home to Andorra, England play twice before that game, giving them the chance to collect the desired four points or more, or further improve their goal difference.

The most impressive aspect of England's results is that their 17 goals have been shared around the team, Folarin Balogun top-scoring with four strikes and four other teammates contributing at least twice.

From Albania's perspective, their campaign has petered out after initially claiming nine points from their opening four fixtures.

Since the start of November, they have suffered four successive defeats, conceding nine goals in the process and netting just the one strike of their own.

Things may have panned out differently had they not conceded a last-gasp winner to Kosovo, nor the only goal of the game in the away fixture with Czech Republic being from their own player.

Nevertheless, they were well beaten by England in their most recent qualification fixture on March 29, leaving Alban Bushi's team with two matches to overturn the two-point deficit to third position.

England Under-21s form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Albania Under-21s form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

With another three games to come in quick succession, Carsley is expected to rotate his squad with Tommy Doyle potentially coming into the midfield after the three occupants on Friday all completed 90 minutes.

Djed Spence and Luke Thomas may take the full-back positions, while Cameron Archer could be given a start in attack ahead of Balogun.

At least one of Anthony Gordon and Angel Gomes are also in contention for a creative role.

Albania will make at least two changes with Angelo Ndrecka and Indrit Tuci both not featuring in the squad.

Roy Syla and Ernest Muci could both be drafted into the team in their place.

England Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Bursik; Spence, Harwood-Bellis, Cresswell, Thomas; Jones, Doyle, Ramsey; Smith Rowe, Archer, Gordon

Albania Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Simoni; Marku, Selmani, Kalaj, Mitaj; Syla, Celhaka, Dobra; Cara, Muci, Ismajlgeci

We say: England Under-21s 3-0 Albania Under-21s

Having won three of their group games, Albania should certainly not be disregarded when it comes to causing an upset. However, if England perform anywhere near to their best, they should breeze to another victory, effectively securing the group winners spot in the process.

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