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Wednesday, 28 March 2001
World Cup 2002 UEFA Group Nine qualification match

Albania 1 England 3 [0-0]

Stadiumi Kombetar, Sheshi Italia, Tiranë
Attendance: 18,000;
Kick-off: 8.30pm local, 7.30pm BST
Live on Channel Five (UK) -
Commentator: xx

England - Michael Owen (74), Paul Scholes (86), Andrew Cole (90+5).
Albania - Altin Rraklli (90+3)
Match Summary
Albania Squad
England Squad
Team Records
Albania - Altin Lala (41), Besnik Hasi (51),
England - Gary Neville (82)
, Andrew Cole (87).
Results 2000-2005

England kicked-off. 97 minutes (46 & 51).


Match Summary

Officials from Luxembourg




Referee (dark green) - Alain Hamer
35 (10 December 1965), FIFA-listed 1993.

Assistant Referees - Henri Reuter, 42 (9 January 1959) and Francois Mangen, 35 (12 October 1965).

Fourth Official -
Charles Schaack, 40 (17 April 1960), FIFA 1993.
7 Goal Attempts 7
3 Attempts on Target 6
0 Hit Bar/Post 0
2 Corner Kicks Won 11
6 Offside Calls Against 4
14 Fouls Conceded 15
- Possession -

Albania Team



FIFA (14 March 2001) =75th
EFO ranking

ELO rating 83rd to 85th
Colours: Made by Puma - Red collared jerseys with black v-neck/cuffs and red wing collar with black/white trim, black band across chest and sleeves with white seam, black shorts, red socks with white calf hoops.
Capt: Fotaq Strakosha Manager: Medin Zhega, 55 (31 January 1946), appointed late 1999, first match 6 February 2000,
10th match, W 5 - D 1 - L 4 - F 13 - A 8.
Albania Lineup
1 Strakosha, Fotaq 36 28 March 1965 G PAE Ionikos Nikaias FC, Greece 46 GA
2 Lala, Altin 25 18 November 1975 RM Hannoverscher SV von 1896 eV, Germany 16 0
Lala cautioned in the 41st min. for Unsporting Behaviour following a foul on Ashley Cole.
3 Cipi, Geri 25 28 February 1976 CD KAA Gent, Belgium 11 0
4 Xhumba, Arian 33 9 July 1967 LB PAS Giannina FC, Greece 35 0
5 Fakaj, Ervin P. 24 15 June 1976 RB Enosis Neon Paralimni, Cyprus 19 1
6 Hasi, Besnik 29 29 December 1971 CM RSC Anderlecht, Belgium 1 0
Hasi cautioned in the 51st min. for Dissent.
7 Bellai, Arian 31 1 February 1970 LM

PAS Giannina FC, Greece

15 1
8 Bushi, Alban 27 20 August 1973 F İstanbulspor, Turkey 28 7
9 Kola, Bledar, off 83rd min. 28 1 August 1972 CM Athlitiki Enosis Konstantinoupoleos FC, Greece 34 6
10 Vata, Fatmir, off 88th min. 29 19 September 1971 CM SV Waldhof Mannheim eV, Germany 3 0
11 Tare, Igli, off 90+4th min. 27 25 July 1973 F Brescia Calcio SpA, Italy 28 3
Albania Substitutes
14 Mukaj, Devis, on 83rd min. for Kola 24 21 December 1976 M NK Varazdin, Croatia 12 1
13 Rraklli, Altin, on 88th min. for Vata 30 17 August 1970 F SpVgg Unterhaching eV, Germany 44 8
16 Skela, Ervin, on 90+4th min. for Tare 24 17 November 1976 M SV Waldhof Mannheim eV, Germany 4 0

unused substitutes:

12-Arjan Beqaj, 15-Klodian Duro, 17-Nevil Dede, 18-Indrit Fortuzi.
3-5-2 Strakhosa -
Fakaj, Cipi, Xhumba -
Lala, Vata
(Rraklli), Hasi, Kola (Mukaj), Bellai -
Bushi, Tare


Age - Appearances/Goals - -


England Team



FIFA (14 March 2001) 16th
EFO ranking

ELO rating 12th
Colours: The 2001 Umbro home uniform - White shadow striped v-neck jersey with navy collar/cuffs/piping and single red vertical stripe down left side, navy shorts with red vertical stripe down right side, white socks with navy/white tops.
Capt: David Beckham, fourth captaincy. Manager: Sven-Goran Eriksson, 53 (5 February 1948), appointed manager 30 October 2000, effective 12 January 2001.
3rd match, W 3 - D 0 - L 0 - F 8 - A 2.
England Lineup
1 Seaman, David A. 37 19 September 1963 G

Arsenal FC

64 GA
2 Neville, Gary A. 26 18 February 1975 RB Manchester United FC 44 0
Neville cautioned in the 82nd min. for Ungentlemanly Conduct for time-wasting after delaying a throw-in.
3 Cole, Ashley 20 20 December 1980 LB Arsenal FC 1 0
4 Butt, Nicholas 26 21 January 1975 CM Manchester United FC 13 0
5 Ferdinand, Rio G. 22 7 November 1978 CD Leeds United AFC 13 0
6 Campbell, Sulzeer J., off 29th min. 26 18 September 1974 CD Arsenal FC 40 0
7 Beckham, David R.J. 25 2 May 1975 RM

Manchester United FC

40 2
8 Scholes, Paul 26 16 November 1974 CM Manchester United FC 33 11
9 Cole, Andrew A. 29 15 October 1971 F

Manchester United FC

13 1
Cole cautioned in the 87th min. for Unsporting Behaviour for a clumsy foul on Fatmir Vata, SUSPENDED.
10 Owen, Michael J., off 84th min. 21 14 December 1979 F Liverpool FC 27 10
11 McManaman, Steve, off 46th min. 29 11 February 1972 LM Real Madrid CF, Spain 33 3
England Substitutes
14 Brown, Wesley M., on 29th min. for Campbell 21 13 October 1979 D Manchester United FC 3 0
16 Heskey, Emile W.I., on 46th min. for McManaman 23 11 January 1978 M Liverpool FC 14 2
17 Sheringham, Edward P., on 84th min. for Owen 35 2 April 1966 F Manchester United FC 40 9

unused substitutes:

12-Phil Neville, 13-Nigel Martyn, 15-Jamie Carragher, 18-Robbie Fowler.

team notes:

As England celebrate their third goal, the crowd become more agitated and bottles are hurled onto the pitch. Ashley Cole crashes to floor clutching his face, having apparently been hit by a missile.
For six minutes, at the the conclusion of this match, Manchester United had seven players on the field.
4-4-2 Seaman -
G Neville, Campbell (Brown), Ferdinand, Ashley Cole -
Beckham, Butt, Scholes, McManaman
(Heskey) -
(Sheringham) -
Andrew Cole.


Age 26.1 Appearances/Goals - -


    Match Report by Mike Payne


Source Notes

Andy Cole ended his England goal drought as the revival under Sven Goran Eriksson gathered pace with a priceless win in Albania.  Cole struck England's third - his first international strike at the 13th attempt - as the battling Albanians were finally overcome in Tirana.  Swede Eriksson has breathed new life into England's World Cup hopes with victories against Finland and Albania in the space of four days.

And he was grateful again to Michael Owen, a goalscorer when Finland were beaten at Anfield, for a second half goal that broke the deadlock.  Owen's strike stunned the resolute Albanians, and Paul Scholes added the second with six minutes to go to put England on course for a crucial victory.  England struggled to make any real impact for long periods against the rejuventated Albanians - but the result was everything and Eriksson will consider it a job well done.  Owen took advantage of a perfect pass from Scholes to score in the 73rd minute and cement the feelgood factor surrounding England since the arrival of new coach Eriksson.

Scholes then exploited excellent work by Manchester United team-mate Cole to score from close range.

Albania substitute Altin Rraklli was the benficiary of a mistake by Rio Ferdinand in injury time to give England an anxious last few minutes.  He also had a goal ruled out for offside in the dying seconds - but England survived and added that memorable third from Cole with virtually the last kick of the game to claim the points.  It now gives Group Nine a much more respectable look from England's point of view - although Germany remain in the ascendancy after their win in Greece.  Coach Eriksson sprang a selection surprise by giving an international debut to Arsenal youngster Ashley Cole.  And he was a prominent figure in a first half which saw England struggle to establish supremacy over a vastly-improved Albania side.  England suffered a blow after 28 minutes when influential defender Sol Campbell sustained an ankle injury in a challenge and had to be replaced by Manchester United's Wes Brown.  Beckham ended an England goal drought stretching to France 98 with the winner against Finland at Anfield - and was almost on the scoresheet again with a trademark free-kick.  Geri Cipi flattened Cole, and Beckham curled a shot around the Albanian wall to force goalkeeper Foto Strakosha into a spectacular diving save to his left.  And Strakosha was in action again to deny Beckham from another free-kick after Albania's Altin Lala was booked for a wild challenge on Ashley Cole.  England made a change during the interval, sending on powerful Liverpool striker Emile Heskey for Steve McManaman, who had been a peripheral figure.  And Heskey almost made an immediate impact as he deflected Scholes' cross narrowly wide after 48 minutes.

David Seaman had his first moment of anxiety after 54 minutes when a long range shot from Fatmir Vata reared off the turf, forcing England's veteran goalkeeper to save uncomfortably at the second attempt.

England had justifiable penalty claims waved away by referee Alain Hamer on the hour when Nicky Butt fell under challenge from Cipi, a decision that left captain Beckham, in particular, incensed.  Andy Cole was still struggling for that elusive first England goal, and he showed a lack of conviction as he got on the end of Gary Neville's cross but could not direct a weak header.  England finally broke the deadlock after 73 minutes, and it was in-form Owen who was the talisman again.  Neville started the good work with a raid down the right, and when Scholes threaded a glorious ball through to Owen, he provided the perfect finish to beat Strakosha.  England's second after 84 minutes was fashioned at Old Trafford and finished in Tirana as the victory was effectively sealed.  Andy Cole was creator with a surging run into the penalty area, and he provided an inviting cross for Scholes to score from inside the six-yard area.  Rraklli gave England a scare with an injury time strike for Albania after careless work by Ferdinand.  But Andy Cole cooled the nerves and boosted his confidence with a trademark penalty box swoop for England's third.

Original newspaper reports
Rothman's Yearbooks
F.A. Yearbooks