Gareth Southgate saw room for improvement from England as they coasted to a 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat of Albania.

The Three Lions followed up their 5-0 drubbing of San Marino with another comfortable Group I win at the Air Albania Stadium on Sunday.

Captain Harry Kane ended a run of six games without a goal for his country with a first-half header and laid one on for Mason Mount after the break.

Kane and Phil Foden also struck the woodwork and Albania could not muster a shot on target in Tirana, where their run of four consecutive victories came to an end.

England boss Southgate was not impressed with the way his side finished a game they dominated ahead of a showdown with Poland at Wembley on Wednesday.

"It was a difficult pitch to move the ball on but we adapted well to that," Southgate told ITV Sport. "After about 25 minutes we just changed the shape of the midfield a little bit and we looked more dangerous.

"They had a different formation to the one they've played in the last 25 matches, so I thought we adapted well to that.

"We were comfortable for most of the second half. 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 and a throw-in at the end that we nearly conceded a goal from.

"I'm pleased we can win but I thought there were areas we can certainly tighten up on."

Harry Kane set his sights on Poland after scoring one goal and creating another for Mason Mount in England's 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Albania.

Kane had gone six games without finding the back of the net for his country before opening the scoring with a first-half header at the Air Albania Stadium in Tirana on Sunday.

The Three Lions captain turned provider after the break, picking out Mount with a measured pass which the Chelsea midfielder controlled in an instant before dinking over goalkeeper Etrit Berisha and into the back of the net.

Kane and Phil Foden also struck the woodwork in a dominant display from Gareth Southgate's side, who have started their bid to qualify for next year's tournament in Qatar with straightforward victories over San Marino and now Albania.

A much bigger test is expected when England face Poland in Group I on Wednesday, but captain Kane says they will go into that showdown with great confidence.

The Tottenham striker told ITV Sport: "I thought it was a really good performance, maybe a bit slow at the start but we changed our formation and I think that helped.

"Sometimes you go through spells when things don't go your way, that is part of being a striker. You just have to stay focused and it was great to get three points.

"We need to keep working hard but we are in a good place. Poland will be the toughest game in the group but we are ready for that. If we can win that, that puts us in a great position."

England talisman Kane has now had a direct hand in 18 goals in his last 13 games at international level, scoring 11 and providing seven assists.

The 27-year-old's header ensured he has scored in each of his last seven away qualifying matches, the longest ever run by an England player.

Harry Kane scored his first international goal in 16 months as England cruised to a 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Albania in Tirana.

Kane had not found the back of the net for his country since November 2019, but the captain opened the scoring with a first-half header at the Air Albania Stadium on Sunday.

The striker then set up Mason Mount to double England's lead in the second half as the Group I leaders made it two wins out of two following their 5-0 hammering of San Marino on Thursday.

Kane and Phil Foden struck the woodwork in a dominant display from Gareth Southgate's side, with Nick Pope becoming the first goalkeeper not to concede a goal in his first six England games as second-placed Albania failed to register a shot on target.

Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka have been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Poland.

Manchester United forward Rashford and versatile Arsenal teenager Saka missed England's opening 5-0 Group I defeat of San Marino at Wembley on Thursday.

Rashford and Saka will also play no part against Albania in Tirana on Sunday and a home clash with Poland next Wednesday due to foot and hamstring injuries respectively.

A Football Association statement said: "Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka will play no part in England's forthcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

"Rashford reported to St. George's Park with an injury that ruled him out of the 5-0 win against San Marino and, following further assessment, it has been decided he will continue his rehabilitation with Manchester United.

"Saka had remained at Arsenal for further assessment on an ongoing issue with the hope of joining up with the Three Lions but will now not be available for the fixtures against Albania and Poland."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice against San Marino, while James Ward-Prowse, Raheem Sterling and debutant Ollie Watkins were also on target as England started their bid to qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar with a dominant victory.

England's World Cup qualifier with Albania in Tirana on Sunday will go ahead after concerns over security were addressed.

Local police had informed the Albanian Football Association (AFA) that they could not guarantee the safety of the two sides for the Group I encounter at the Air Albania Stadium.

The AFA had asked for a restricted number of fans who have received a coronavirus vaccinations to be allowed into the venue, but the government refused that request.

With police having been unable to offer assurances over the safety of players outside the ground, with no lockdown restrictions in place, the AFA was concerned the fixture may have to be cancelled.  

However, police released a statement later on Thursday confirming the game could ahead, saying they had "taken all measures to guarantee order and security".

 

 

England's World Cup qualifier with Albania in Tirana on Sunday is in doubt amid concerns over security.

Local police informed the Albanian Football Association (AFA) that they could not guarantee the safety of the two sides for the Group I encounter at the Air Albania Stadium.

The AFA had asked for a restricted number of fans who have received a coronavirus vaccination to be allowed into the venue, but the government refused that request.

With police unable to offer assurances over the safety of players outside the ground, with no lockdown restrictions in place, the AFA is concerned the fixture may have to be cancelled.  

An AFA statement said: "Today a letter arrived at the Albanian Football Federation which states that the structures of the local police directorate of Tirana do not guarantee the taking of measures before, during and after the Albania-England match on 28 March.

"Faced with the situation where the state authorities did not react after the request of the Albanian Football Federation for the release of spaces on the perimeter of the national stadium, we request urgent response of these structures.

"The cancellation of the Albania-England match scheduled to be played at Air Albania Stadium would have catastrophic consequences for the image of our country, the national team and in general for Albanian football."

A spokesman for the English Football Association said ahead of England's first qualifier against San Marino on Thursday: "We continue to liaise with the relevant authorities."

 

 

 

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