- goal scored by H. Kane
- goal scored by M. Mount
goal scored by
- H. Kane goal scored by
- M. Mount
Shaw and Southgate on win
Hear from the returning Luke Shaw and manager Gareth Southgate following the victory in Tirana
Three Lions defender Luke Shaw enjoyed a successful return to the team, helping to keep a clean sheet as well as providing the cross for Harry Kane's opening goal.
That helped set England on their way to victory and the Manchester United man spoke after the game about his involvement.
“I’m very happy to win in my first game back," he said.
"I think Gareth said before that we’re really onto [keeping] clean sheets at the moment, and we got another clean sheet here tonight. The pitch at times was very difficult, but we got what we wanted – three points, job done and I’m very happy to be back in the fold.
“Of course [I’m happy with the assist] – I think maybe [it came] at a crucial time for me. I gave a couple of sloppy balls away and I think when you’re playing with Harry Kane, you know he’s going to be in the box and if you hit the area you know he’s going to always be there, and he was. It was a great header by him and of course, a crucial time for us to get the opener and settle things down.
“I think we controlled the tempo well. At times their only chances really came from mistakes from us. We know we made a couple of mistakes – even towards the end of the game, Gareth spoke after and said we needed to control it better, especially against higher opposition when maybe we might have been punished – but it’s a very good win and it’s a great feeling to be back in and around the team.
“The last two years I’ve been watching the games and really regretting not being able to take my chances when had them. I’m just so happy to be back and even if I’m not playing and I’m just around the squad, it’s still brilliant.
"Of course, I would love to be in the Euros squad. I think every single English player would want to. There’s very high competition – Chilly [Ben Chilwell] played the other night, was outstanding and is a really, really good player. The competition is great and I’ll just keep pushing myself.”
Meanwhile, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate provided his assessment of his team's performance in Tirana, as they made it two wins from two in their opening qualifiers.
“It was a difficult pitch to move the ball on, so we adapted well to that.
"I think we controlled the game – after about 25 minutes we just changed the shape of the midfield a little bit and we looked a lot more dangerous. They had a different formation to the one they’ve played in their last 25 matches, so I thought we adapted well to that.
“We were comfortable for most of the second half but I just thought at the end of the game, we had opportunities to make it three and should have killed the game off.
"I didn’t like the way we managed the game in the last 15 minutes – charging forward when we didn’t need to, a throw-in at the end that we nearly conceded a goal from. I’m pleased with the win, but I think there are areas that we can certainly tighten up on."
When the Three Lions head to Tirana, it will be only our fifth meeting with Albania at senior level, all of which have come in World Cup qualifiers over the years.
England have won all four games so far, netting 12 goals and conceding just once.
It'd be remiss to not mention another game with Albania, when the senior 'B' team met them in a game at Burnley's Turf Moor in May 2007. That encounter ended in a 3-1 win for England, with Alan Smith opening the scoring before Stewart Downing added two more.
The first meeting
Albania 0-2 England
8 March 1989
Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana
It was a Euro qualifier for the 1990 World Cup when the nations first met, in front of a packed crowd in Tirana. A goal from John Barnes got Bobby Robson's team underway before a second goal just after the hour mark from Bryan Robson secured the win.
Last time out
England 2-0 Albania
5 September 2001
St. James' Park, Newcastle
It's almost 20 years since the last meeting at senior level, when Sven-Goran Eriksson's team hosted the Albanians in the north-east. It took the Three Lions 43 minutes to break down the visitors when Michael Owen opened the scoring and we then had to wait until the 88th minute for second-half sub Robbie Fowler to double the advantage.
Our biggest win
England 5-0 Albania
26 April 1989
An early goal from Gary Lineker, two from Peter Beardsley, a Chris Waddle strike and a late Paul Gascoigne goal were enough to clock up a big win at Wembley in what was our second encounter with the Albanians, in front of over 60,000 fans at the old Wembley.
European Qualifying head-to-head
Three points for the Three Lions
England take control of World Cup qualifying group after win in Tirana
Harry Kane's first England goal for almost exactly 500 days helped steer the Three Lions to a clinical 2-0 victory over Albania in Tirana.
Gareth Southgate’s side were forced to battle in their second game of World Cup qualifying but a trademark header from the England captain, followed by Mason Mount’s second-half strike, made it two wins from two in Group I.
England struggled for their desired fluency throughout the first half before Kane’s well-directed header from a fine Luke Shaw cross hauled the visitors in front.
And the Three Lions dominated the second period as Mount’s cool finish put the seal on a polished performance and extended England’s winning record ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Poland.
Southgate made six changes to the team that disposed of San Marino and it was the new-look visitors who dominated possession throughout the opening stages.
Defensive midfield pairing Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips saw plenty of the ball while Mount, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden buzzed around behind returning captain Kane.
England’s first opportunity fell to John Stones, but the Manchester City defender was unable to keep his header down after club teammate Foden’s inviting corner.
But it was Albania who had the game’s best early chance, when Myrto Uzuni wastefully fired over after a misplaced England pass had started a dangerous counter-attack.
England were struggling to find their familiar tempo as a resolute Albania made it difficult for them to move the ball up the pitch quickly.
The Three Lions did eventually force a breakthrough before half time, however – and it was captain fantastic Kane who ended his 16-month wait for an England goal with a brilliant header.
Sterling and Mount combined on the left before Shaw’s sumptuous cross found the England talisman, who expertly got in front of his marker to arrow his effort into the bottom corner.
And it was almost 2-0 moments later when Sterling’s brilliant delivery once again found the England skipper, whose crisp half-volley cannoned into the Albania crossbar.
England started the second half strongly and struck the woodwork once again shortly after the break, when clever work from Sterling teed up club teammate Foden.
The Manchester City ace directed a good shot towards the bottom corner but a strong hand from Berisha tipped the ball onto a post.
The visitors were beginning to turn the screw in the second half as Walker, Kane and Sterling all enjoyed openings after some quicker England passing.
Foden almost benefited from an under-hit Albania backpass before Phillips’ inviting cross was cleared by the hosts’ defence.
England did eventually double their advantage shortly after the hour mark and it was Mount, a lively presence all evening, who expertly finished into the corner.
The Chelsea star was put one-on-one with Berisha after Sterling had intercepted a pass and made no mistake with his effort, clinically caressing the ball past the Albania keeper to open up daylight in Tirana.
England continued to pile forward and shortly after James Ward-Prowse’s introduction on 71 minutes, they almost made it three.
Sterling’s deft pass presented Kane with an opportunity to slide in and score but the England captain was harshly booked for his effort.
Kane went close to grabbing a third but England calmly saw the game out to head into Wednesday’s testing clash at Wembley with two wins – and clean sheets – from their opening two Group I matches.
England (4-2-3-1): 1 Nick Pope (Burnley); 2 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 5 John Stones (Manchester City), 6 Harry Maguire (Manchester United), 3 Luke Shaw (Manchester United); 4 Declan Rice (West Ham United), 8 Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United); 10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), 11 Mason Mount (Chelsea), 7 Phil Foden (Manchester City); 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) (c)
Substitutes: 17 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) for Phillips 71’, 14 Jesse Lingard (West Ham United, on loan from Manchester United) for Foden 81’
Substitutes not used: 12 Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), 13 Dean Henderson (Manchester United), 15 Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 16 Reece James (Chelsea), 18 Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), 19 Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), 20 Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), 21 Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa), 22 Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), 23 Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
Goals: Kane 38’, Mount 63’
Albania (4-3-3): 1 Etrit Berisha; 4 Elseid Hysaj ©, 18 A Ismajli, 6 Berat Djimsiti, 5 Freddie Veseli, 14 Qazim Laci, 7 Keidi Bare, 2 Hysen Memolla, 16 Sokol Cikalleshi,, 17 Armando Broja, 11 Myrto Uzuni
Substitutes: 8 Klaus Gjasula for Memolla 59’, 10 Rey Manaj for Cikalleshi 59’, 3 Ermir Lenjani for Broja 59’, 9 Ledian Memushaj for Bare 71’, 20 Ylber Ramadani for Laci 89’
Substitutes not used: 12 Gentian Selmani, 13 Arlind Ajeti, 15 Erion Hoxhallari, 19 Albi Doka, 21 Sherif Kallaku, 22 Florian Kamberi, 23 Thomas Strakosha