Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
Andorra and Albania go head to head at Estadi Nacional in the opening match of the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. Andorra struggled at the back in November matches, with the team conceding 15 goals in total in consecutive defeats to Portugal (0-7), Malta (1-3), and Latvia (0-5). The minnows are eager to put an end to the negative trend, but bookies seem them as underdogs in Thursday’s qualifier.
Albania, on the other hand, aim to extend their winning run to four games, and given their attacking potential, anything but a routine away win would be a major surprise. Experienced Konyaspor attacker Sokol Cikalleshi, who scored a brace in a 3-2 win over Belarus, will be the man to keep an eye on in the away team. In the previous meeting between Andorra and Albania at Estadi Nacional Albania recorded a routine 3-0 win over Andorra.
Highlighted Player (Elseid Hysaj):
Born on 2nd February 1994, Elseid Hysaj is an Albanian defender who has spent his entire professional career in Italian Serie A and he is predicted a bright future in the game. Empoli scouts spotted his talent while he was playing for Shodra youth sides, and after three years in the youth team, the full-back was promoted to the first team set up.
Hysaj performed really well in his first three years as a first team regular, helping the Azzurri gain promotion to the top fight in the process. One season in Serie A proved enough for the right-sided defender to secure a big club move as he joined Napoli in the summer of 2015 and immediately nailed down a regular starting berth.
Capable of doing dirty defensive work as well as making forward runs, Hysaj is a modern full-back, who is destined for big things. The talented footballer is already a key member of the Albania national team and he will represent the country at the Euro 2016 finals.
Highlighted Team (Albania):
The Albanian national football team has represented the country on international stage since 1946, and it is interesting to note that Albania was one of the founding members of UEFA back in 1954. The Eagles have enjoyed very little success in the 20th century, but they managed to show some improvement at the turn of the century and eventually secured their first ever appearance at a major tournament.
Albania qualified for the Euro 2016 finals as they came second in their qualifying group behind Portugal, taking 14 points from 8 matches, with Italian coach Gianni De Biasi at the helm. The Eagles have never qualified for the World Cup finals in 11 attempts, winning mere 14 of 94 World Cup qualifiers.
Former Lazio defender Lorik Cana has worn the captain’s armband over the last few years and he is Albania’s most capped player, while former Chievo forward Erjon Bogdani still holds the record for most goals for the national team, with 18 strikes in 74 appearances.