EUROPE: World Cup – Qualification
Venue: Estadi Nacional (Andorra la Vella)
Following Andorra’s first set of consecutive clean sheets in three years, reality bit the microstate in the last two FIFA World Cup qualification (WCQ) rounds (L2). As a small consolation, the latter of those saw Andorra merely lose 2-1 (vs Hungary), setting them up to score goals in successive WCQ fixtures against teams currently inside FIFA’s top-40.
That feat would be a first in Andorra’s 21-year history of WCQ participation, but they are yet to score against England, and their all-time H2H record with the ‘Three Lions’ (L5) has them conceding an average of exactly four goals per-match across those previous meetings.
Gareth Southgate’s England are practical certainties to win comfortably, and post a record-breaking 14th straight WCQ away game unbeaten. Any other result would be apocalyptic for the Euro 2020 runners up, though they’ve failed to make an immediate impact in both prior visits to Andorra, which saw them held goalless to half-time.
England’s record across their current unbeaten WCQ away run (W7, D6) would have read better still, had they not conceded between the 70th minute and full-time in four of the draws. While concentration at the back is always vital, England should also see this as an opportunity to win a WCQ away game by a 5+ goal margin for only the third time this century.
Players to watch: With a combined age of 116, Ildefons Lima, Marc Pujol and Márcio Vieira are survivors from Andorra’s last home clash with England (September 2008). A whole 21 years Lima’s junior, Bukayo Saka rounded off the scoring at Wembley in the reverse H2H, while his provider for that goal, Jesse Lingard, hit a double including the opener.
- Andorra’s form in last 5 matches: LLWDL.
- England’s form in last 5 matches: DWWDW.
PREDICTION: Away Win and Over 2.5