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Match No. 777 vs. Finland Match No. 779 vs. Mexico Match Results

England National Football Team Match No. 778

Albania 1 England 3 [0-0]

Wednesday, 28 March 2001

Match Summary and Report


Match Summary

Status: World Cup 2002 UEFA Preliminary Group 9 qualification match.
Venue: Stadiumi Kombetar "Qemal Stafa" Stadium, Tiranë, capacity 19,600.
Attendance: 18,000.
Goals: England - Michael Owen, 74th min.
England - Paul Scholes, 86th min.
Albania - Altin Rraklli, 93rd+ min.
England - Andrew Cole, 95th+ min.
Cautions: Albania - Altin Lala, 41st min. following a foul on Ashley Cole.
Albania - Besnik Hasi, 51st min.
England - Gary Neville, 82nd min.
booked for time-wasting after delaying a throw-in.
England - Andrew Cole, 87th min.
is booked for a clumsy foul on Fatmir Vata, ruling the striker out of England's next qualifier, SUSPENDED.
Expulsions: None.
Officials: Referee - Alain Hamer, 35 (10-Dec-1965), Luxembourg, FIFA-listed 1993.
Assistant referees - Henri Reuter, 42 (09-Jan-1959) & François Mangen, 35 (12-Oct-1965), Luxembourg.
Fourth official - Charles Schaack, 40 (17-Apr-1960), Luxembourg, FIFA-listed as referee 1993.
Conditions: Kickoff 8:30 p.m. local time, 7:30 p.m. BST;  weather temperate since daytime heat had dissipated; pitch had ample grass covering but dirt base was rock hard.
Miscellany: -




Goal Attempts 7 7
Attempts on Target 3 6
Hit Bar/Post 0 0
Corner Kicks Won 2 11
Offside Calls Against 6 4
Fouls Conceded 14 15
Time of Possession - -


Albania Team


75th in FIFA ranking of 14 March 2001; 83rd in Elo world ranking before this match and 85th after this match.

Colours: Red shirts with black band across chest and sleeves, black shorts, red socks; made by Puma.
Coach: Mehdin Zhega, appointed late 1999, first match 6 February 2000,
10th match, W 5 - D 1 -  L 4 - F 13 - A 8.
Captain: Fotaq Strakosha.

Albania Lineup

Player Birthdate Age Pos Club App G Career
1-Strakosha, Fotaq 28-Mar-1965 36 G Ionikos Nikeas FC, Greece 46 0 1990-active
2-Lala, Altin 18-Nov-1975 25 D Hannover SV 96, Germany 16 0 -active
3-Cipi, Geri 28-Feb-1976 25 D KAA Gent, Belgium 11 0 1995-active
4-Xhumba, Arian 09-Jul-1967 33 D PAS Giannina FC, Greece 35 0 1994-active
5-Fakaj, Ervin P. 15-Jun-1976 24 D Enosis Neon Paralimni FC, Cyprus 19 1 -active
6-Hasi, Besnik 29-Dec-1971 29 M RSC Anderlecht, Belgium 1 0 2001-active
7-Bellai, Arian 01-Feb-1970 31 M

PAS Giannina FC, Greece

15 1 1995-active
8-Bushi, Alban 20-Aug-1973 27 F İstanbulspor , Turkey 28 7 1995-active
9-Kola, Bledar, sub off 83rd min. 01-Aug-1972 28 M AEK Athens, Greece 34 6 -active
10-Vata, Fatmir, sub off 88th min. 19-Sep-1971 29 M SV Waldhof Mannheim, Germany 3 0 -active
11-Tare, Igli, sub off 90th +4 min. 25-Jul-1973 27 F Brescia Calcio, Italy 28 3 -active

Albania Substitutes

Player Birthdate Age Pos Club App G Career
14-Mukaj, Devi, sub on 83rd min. for Kola 21-Dec-1976 24 M NK Varteks Varazdin, Croatia 12 1 1998-active
13- Rraklli, Altin, sub on 88th min. for Vata 17-Aug-1970 30 F SpVgg Unterhaching, Germany 44 8 1992-active
16-Skela, Ervin, sub on 90th +4 min. for Tare 17-Nov-1976 24 M SV Waldhof Mannheim, Germany 4 0 -active

All appearance and goal tallies are taken from the Soccernet website, and could be incorrect.



Strakhosa -
Fakaj, Cipi, Xhumba -
Lala, Vata (Rraklli), Hasi, Kola (Mukaj), Bellai -
Bushi, Tare (Skela).

Not Used:
12-Arian Beqaj, 15-Klodian Duro, 17-Nevil Dede, 18-Indrit Fortuzi.

England Team


16th in FIFA ranking of 14 March 2001; 12th in Elo world ranking before this match and 12th after this match.

Colours: White shirts with red stripe down left side, navy blue shorts with red stripe down right side, white socks - The "2001" home uniform.
Coach: Sven-Göran Eriksson, 53, appointed 31 October 2000, took post 12 January 2001, 
3rd match,
W 3 - D 0 - L 0 - F 8 - A 2.
Captain: David Beckham, 4th captaincy.

England Lineup

Player Birthdate Age Pos Club App G Career
1-Seaman, David A. 19-Sep-1963 37 G

Arsenal FC

64 0 1988-2002
2-Neville, Gary A. 18-Feb-1975 26 D Manchester United FC 44 0 1995-active
3-Cole, Ashley 20-Dec-1980 20 D Arsenal FC 1 0 2001-active
4-Butt, Nicholas 21-Jan-1975 26 M Manchester United FC 13 0 1997-active
5-Ferdinand, Rio G. 07-Nov-1978 22 D Leeds United AFC 13 0 1997-active
6-Campbell, Sulzeer J., sub off 29th min. 18-Sep-1974 26 D Arsenal FC 40 0 1996-active
7-Beckham, David R.J. 02-May-1975 25 M

Manchester United FC

40 2 1996-active
8- Scholes, Paul 16-Nov-1974 26 M Manchester United FC 33 11 1997-2004
9- Cole, Andrew A. 15-Oct-1971 29 F

Manchester United FC

13 1 1995-2001
10- Owen, Michael J., sub off 84th min. 14-Dec-1979 21 F Liverpool FC 27 10 1998-active
11-McManaman, Steve, sub off 46th min. 11-Feb-1972 29 M Real Madrid CF, Spain 33 3 1994-active

England Substitutes

Player Birthdate Age Pos Club App G Career
14-Brown, Wesley M., sub on 29th min. for Campbell 13-Oct-1979 21 D Manchester United FC 3 0 1999-active
16-Heskey, Emile W.I., sub on 46th min. for McManaman 11-Jan-1978 23 M Liverpool FC 14 2 1999-active
17-Sheringham, Edward P., sub on 84th min. for Owen 02-Apr-1966 35 F Manchester United FC 40 9 1993-2002

with one forward slightly withdrawn:

Seaman -
G. Neville, Campbell (Brown), Ferdinand, Ashley Cole -
Beckham, Butt, Scholes, McManaman (Heskey) -
Owen (Sheringham) -
Andrew Cole.

Not Used:
12-Phil Neville,  13-Nigel Martyn,  15-Jamie Carragher,  18-Robbie Fowler.

Match Report


England almost gave the game away during the five minutes the referee generously awarded as time added on as they demonstrated the perils of trying to wait out the clock rather than playing the game to its conclusion.  Captain Beckham and Gary Neville are the main culprits as the ball is played back towards England's goal.  Ferdinand fails to clear the ball, it goes out, an Albanian retrieves it to take the throw-in and when Ferdinand goes for the ball to make an untenable claim for an England throw-in, evidently believing he can kill further time by doing so, the throw is quickly taken and the Albanian sub has a clear path through to the goal with Ferdinand, who's been had and knows it, trailing behind like a flapping goose about to be cooked.  Two terrible mental lapses by Ferdinand in two consecutive games with the same result--the opposition gets a man free and he scores.  Eriksson will have to have patience here.  Fortunately for England, it's a quality he has in spades, along with the courage and conviction to resist the impetuous demands of the media herd.

My man of the match:  the sub who came on late for Albania and scored both their goals, including the one dubiously disallowed for offside, for making the last few minutes unbearable for England fans.  My England man of the match:  for lack of better candidates, the two Coles:  Ashley Cole, who had some bright moments on his debut, and the media herd's favourite whipping boy, Andrew Cole, who created England's second and winning goal with his run and pass and who finally broke his scoring duck--a scoring duck of five years, The Times misleadingly labels it while failing to mention that it consisted of seven starts in 12 appearances--on England's third goal, yet still managed to please the myopic media herd by picking up his second yellow card in the competition, thereby ensuring he will not play against Greece because of suspension or, consequently, against Mexico because Eriksson no longer has a reason to pick him for a warm-up match.  There now, Wee Davy Mellor and media herd colleagues, if you really try, it's not too hard, is it, to have the common courtesy to refer to someone by the name he now prefers?  Lesson No. 2:  Repeat after me, now, it's Muhammad Ali, not Cassius Clay, it's Muhammad Ali, not Cassius Clay, it's Muhammad Ali, not Cassius Clay.  By jove, I think you've got it.

England gave up their first goal ever to Albania.

First time England have won three successive matches since 1997.  This Eriksson is something and the media herd really warm to him, forced to recognize, belatedly, that he's incomparably better than the mediocrity they foisted on us after they got rid of Hoddle.  Still, Flick and Flack on The Times, whose viciously dishonest distortions were primarily responsible for Hoddle's demise, find it necessary to deliver patronising lectures to Eriksson, as if they can tell him anything about football, even English football.  They might be able to tell him who plays where for Sunderland, but nada about the game proper.

At the end of the match, after Teddy Sheringham came on as a late substitute, seven Manchester United players were on the pitch for England, equalling, sort of, the record set against Italy in the Battle of Highbury in 1934, when seven Arsenal players played the whole match for England before substitutions were allowed.

Channel 5's coverage amateurish, even given Albanian responsibility for the awful camera work.

A very promising debut for Ashley Cole.  Very few matches for Arsenal's first team and already an England international.  Eriksson demonstrates he has the courage to follow through on his judgment when lesser coaches might have hesitated in a crucial World Cup qualifier.

Andrew Cole breaks his 12-match scoring duck but also draws his second yellow card of the competition, which means he will be suspended for England's next qualification match, against Greece in June.  And that means Eriksson is highly unlikely to select him for the warm-up friendly against Mexico in May.


Source Notes