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England can all but secure their place at the 2022 Qatar World Cup on Friday with victory over Albania: All you need to know ahead of kick-off at Wembley

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Credit: @England Instagram

Following their disappointing 0-0 draw against Hungary last time out, the Three Lions face third-placed Albania at Wembley knowing they can take a massive leap towards World Cup Qualification with a win.

England remain top of Group I, however with the second placed team facing a play-off Southgate’s side will be keen to put in a good performance on Friday evening.

With the final game being against San Marino on Monday, the Three Lions will be confident of qualification with a draw against Albania likely to be enough to secure top spot. 

The reverse fixture back in March saw England come out as comfortable winners with a fairly routine 2-0 win – goals from Harry Kane and Mason Mount securing the victory. 

Despite the disappointing draw with Hungary, Gareth Southgate’s squad are 3 points clear of Poland at the top of Group I and have a healthy goal difference. Paulo Sousa’s men face Andorra with the hope of a sizeable victory. 

In order to guarantee a place in Qatar, England need 4 points from their final two fixtures. Assuming the Three Lions do enough, the race for a play-off spot comes down to Albania or Poland. 

If England win, Sousa’s side can secure a second place finish with a victory over Andorra and are strong favourites to do so, with world-class striker Robert Lewandowski in unstoppable form. 

Team News and Predicted line-up

Arsenal starlet Emile Smith Rowe received his first senior call-up following the withdrawal of James Ward Prose, while Marcus Rashford also misses out.

Credit: Emile Smith Rowe Instagram

Perhaps the biggest blow for England is that midfield general Declan Rice has pulled due to illness. It’s also understood that Chelsea man Mason Mount is set to be absent after undergoing dental surgery to remove his wisdom teeth. It’s hoped that he will return for the game against San Marino on Monday.

Southgate faces a selection dilemma in the middle of the park as Kalvin Phillips is expected to start but who will play alongside the Leeds man? Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Jordan Henderson are all battling for a place – not a bad headache to have.

Having opted for a more attacking set-up in the previous game with two advanced midfielders,  Southgate is likely to select the more defensive option of Jordan Henderson this time out.

It’s understood that The Three Lions will be near to full strength with captain Harry Kane and regular starters Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Harry Maguire all set to feature. 

Credit: @England Instagram

However, during the frustrating draw last time out Kane was substituted despite the side in desperate need of a goal. Is his place in question? Going off current form perhaps it is, but with a lack of other options it’s likely he will start.

Despite not featuring much this season for Man City and failing to replicate his form of previous seasons, Raheem Sterling is one of Southgate’s most trusted players and is expected to play on the right wing.

With the addition of Emile Smith Rowe, fans may be hoping Southgate goes for a more youthful set-up on Friday but the Arsenal man is unlikely to start as the manager sticks with experience. Club teammate Bukayo Saka is expected to be part of the startling line-up at Wembley.

Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has been in excellent form for the Gunners this season. He may have done enough to catch the eye of the England Manager and get a start ahead of current number one Jordan Pickford.

However, the Everton man is expected to keep his place.

Here is the predicted line-up:

Expected England team to take on Albania at Wembley on Friday

What are your thoughts? Who would be in your side to face Albania? Experience or youth?

Join in the conversation on our social media pages and tell us what you think…

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Meet the British Woman Hoping to End F1’s 46-year Wait For a Female Driver

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The modern sports industry remains a very male dominated field. Historically motorsport especially being one of the most inaccessible to women.

In its entire 72-year history, only two women have ever driven in a Formula 1 grand prix. The last was the pioneer Lella Lombardi, the Italian who competed in 12 races between 1974 and 1976 for teams including Williams.

Now, Britain’s Jamie Chadwick is aiming to end the 46-year wait for a woman to sit behind the wheel of a car on the starting grid at the very top level of racing.

The 23-year-old from Bath, is the most prominent woman in world the world of motorsport thanks to the strong results she has earned in the early stages of her career across multiple categories.

Chadwick is about to embark on her third season in W Series, an all-female racing championship launched in 2019 which aims to ensure more women are able to make professional careers out of motor racing.

The aim means that, in conjunction with the heated rivalry that understandably comes with battling for the championship on track, the athletes competing in W Series feel they share a common goal to help one another improve and make overall progress for women in motorsport too. Chadwick has won the title in both of W Series’ first two campaigns.

Speaking to Metro she said:  ‘Everyone expects us not to get on [because we are rivals] but we really, genuinely do. The big reason in my opinion is that we’ve all been through such a similar experience in the sport individually. We can share those experiences with each other and push each other to bring one another on, and hopefully leave the sport in a better place for the next generation coming through.’

Do you think she stands a chance of making it?

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Newcastle co-owner says Chelsea’s Abramovich having to sell isn’t fair

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Credit: Chelsea FC Instagram

Newcastle co-owner Amanda Staveley “doesnt think its particularly fair” that Roman Abramovich is selling following the Russia-Ukraine war.

The businessman announced he had made the “incredibly difficult decision” in a statement on the Premier League club’s website.

There has been calls for Abramovich to be sanctioned, as Chris Bryant alleges leaked Home Office document from 2019 shows he had links to Russian state as well as to “corrupt activity and practices” – the Guardian reports.

Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, Staveley said: “We’re always going to have geopolitical issues.

I’m really sad that someone is going to have a football club taken away because of a relationship he may have with someone.

“I don’t think that’s particularly fair to be honest. But I also think that we have to hold all of our relationships to account.”

In his statement, Abramovich said: “I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart.

“In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners.

“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process.”

Abramovich has said that he won’t be asking for loans to be repaid.

He added: “I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.”

The businessman bought Chelsea back in 2003 for £140m, and has since loaned the club over £1.5bn.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has told Swiss newspaper Blick that he has the chance to buy Chelsea.

However he says that at the moment Abramovich is “asking far too much.”

What are your thoughts?

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Russia’s captain Aleksandr Golovin speaks out on Russian invasion

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Credit: Aleksandr Golovin Instagram

Russia’s football captain Aleksandr Golovin has spoke out about the Russia-Ukraine war.

In a post uploaded to Instagram on Wednesday, the footballer said he hadn’t before now because he wasn’t an expert in politics.

However, he said he would now express his opinion, because he has been drawn to this topic from “all sides.”

It follows furious backlash from Ukrainian players Vitalii Mykolenko and Andriy Yarmolenko about Russian players staying quiet about the invasion of Ukraine.

The captain wrote: “War is a frightful thing. But I am shocked by human aggression and hatred, which every day acquires some sort of unprecedented scale.

“I am against discrimination based on nationality. I’m not ashamed that I’m Russian. I am proud to be Russian. And I don’t understand why athletes should suffer now.”

He continued he was “against double standards.”

Golovin added: “Why is it that one can do everything, but all the dogs are hanged on us. Why has everyone always shouted about sports outside of politics, but at the first opportunity, when it comes to Russia, this principle is completely forgotten?”

He expressed that “anger, dirt and bile” is being poured on Russian people, “regardless of their position and profession.”

The Zenit St Petersburg forward concluded: “P.S. And to some colleagues in the workshop who sit on their ass in mansions in England and say nasty things: it cannot offend us, we understand everything! Peace and goodness to everybody!”

On Tuesday in an Instagram post, Everton’s Mykolenko criticised Russia’s international players for remaining silent whilst “peaceful civilians are being killed in Ukraine.”

The 22-year-old wrote: “You will be locked in your dungeon for the rest of your life and most importantly the lives of your kids. And I’m glad.”

West Ham’s Yarmolenko also hit out at Russian players on Tuesday.

In a video uploaded to Instagram, he said: “Guys, why are you sitting like shitheads and not saying anything? In my country they’re killing people, killing wives, killing our children. But you’re saying nothing, you’ve given no comments.”

Russia has been suspended from all competition, Fifa and Uefa have ruled.

 

 

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