Poland vs Albania Preview 02/09/2021

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Poland and Albania are looking up at England in World Cup qualifying Group I as they head into a crunch fixture on Thursday. Albania are third in Group I with six points from nine possible. Poland are fourth in the group after taking four points from nine available.

Manager Paulo Sousa’s team has been inconsistent to say the least in 2021. Poland have won just one time in eight matches. Their lone win in 2021 came in World Cup qualifying against Andorra. The Polish defeated their Group I rival 3-0 as Roberto Lewandowski scored twice.

— FSHF (@FSHForg) August 31, 2021

Albania are on the rise in UEFA. Under the management of former Lazio coach Edy Reja, Albania have won twice, drawn once, and lost twice in 2021. They too defeated Andorra 1-0 and claimed a victory over San Marino 2-0 in World Cup qualifying.

Thursday night’s match will be a test for the Albanians, however. They have defeated the minnows of Group I. Now, they will face off with one of teams expected to finish in the top two of the group.

Poland and Albania have played a total of 11 times dating back to 1949. Albania’s lone win against Poland during that 11-game time span came in 1953. Since then, Albania have failed to win on eight different occasions against Poland.

The Polish national team has a record of 7W-3D-1L against Albania. On Thursday night, Sousa’s team is the favourite to get the win. After a disappointing summer at the Euros, a win may not be a foregone conclusion.

Sousa has named his strongest squad possible for the fixture. Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, Southampton centre-back Jan Bednarek, Brighton midfielder Jakub Moder, Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski, and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski are in the team.

Nicola Zalewski and Adam Buksa could receive their first caps for the national team. Sousa has not called up up Leeds United’s Mateusz Klich, Pogon Szczecin’s Kacper Kozlowski, nor Hertha Berlin’s Krzysztof Piatek.

Reja has selected Lazio duo Thomas Strakosha and Elseid Hysaj, Espanyol’s Keidi Bare, Atalanta defender Berat Djimsiti, and Southampton forward Armando Broja. Despite the team’s recent improvements under Reja, Albania are still low on quality players compared to Poland.

As always with Poland, the result will depend on how well Lewandowski plays. If the striker can get on the scoresheet, Poland should win. He has three goals in three World Cup qualifiers already.

Poland should win at home on Thursday night against Albania. The Albanians will find Group I more difficult against one of the group’s stronger teams.

Expect under 2.5 goals scored as Albania struggle in the final third. Four of Albania’s five games in 2021 ended with under 2.5 goals scored.

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