Preview: Qatar vs. Albania – prediction, team news, lineups


Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s International Friendlies clash between Qatar and Albania, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Qatar will round off their preparations for the 2022 World Cup with a friendly against Albania on Wednesday night.

Felix Sanchez‘s side will open the tournament against Ecuador on November 20, but Albania have not qualified for the finals of the competition, with the national side instead looking ahead to next year’s Euro 2024 qualification matches.

Match preview

© Reuters

As hosts, Qatar automatically qualified for the finals of the upcoming World Cup, and it will be their first ever appearance in the competition.

The Maroon are currently in a training camp in Spain preparing for the tournament, taking on Guatemala, Honduras and Panama in their last three friendly matches, winning each of the fixtures.

Qatar will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 success over Panama on Saturday, and the clash with Albania will be their final friendly before the start of the competition.

Sanchez’s team will open the tournament against Ecuador on November 20 before also taking on Senegal and the Netherlands in Group A.

Qatar will certainly be the underdogs in their group, but they are currently on a four-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and another positive result on Wednesday would leave confidence high.

Albania coach Edoardo Reja pictured on March 28, 2021© Reuters

Albania, meanwhile, have never qualified for the finals of a World Cup, and they will also not be present in the 2022 edition of the tournament.

The Red and Blacks actually won six of their 10 matches during qualification, but they ultimately finished third in Group I behind England and Poland.

Edoardo Reja‘s side can certainly take positives from their qualification campaign, and they were present at the finals of Euro 2016, being eliminated in the group stage of the tournament.

Albania will face Italy and Armenia in their two friendlies after this on November 16 and November 19 respectively and will then not be back in action until next March against Poland.

Reja’s team have been drawn into Group E when it comes to qualification for Euro 2024, with Poland, Czech Republic, the Faroe Islands and Moldova also making up the section.

Qatar form (all competitions):

Albania form (all competitions):

Team News

Akram Afif celebrates scoring for Qatar on September 27, 2022© Reuters

Qatar boss Sanchez is expected to send a strong side onto the field for the first whistle on Wednesday before making changes throughout the contest.

Almoez Ali is the leading goalscorer in the squad with 41 and is likely to be joined in the final third of the field by the captain Hassan Al-Haydos.

There is plenty of experience in the Qatar squad when it comes to international caps, with Abdulaziz Hatem and Karim Boudiaf also in line to feature from the start.

Albania, meanwhile, have an incredibly inexperienced squad for this match, with head coach Reja unable to call up his senior players due to the season not yet breaking for the World Cup.

The most experienced player in the squad is Sherif Kallaku with six caps, while every other individual has either made just one appearance or is yet to feature.

Redon Xhixha is likely to be given the nod in the final third of the field alongside Xhuliano Skuka, with Elseid Hysaj, Odise Roshi, Armando Broja and Rey Manaj among those unavailable.

Qatar possible starting lineup:
Al Sheeb; Hassan, Khoukhi, Salman, Kheder; Hatem, Boudiaf, Waad, Assadalla; Ali, Al-Haydos

Albania possible starting lineup:
Shala; Turkaj, Gurishta, Hakaj, Janku; Kallaku, Abazaj, Deliu, Marku; Skuka, Xhixha

SM words green background

We say: Qatar 2-0 Albania

Qatar will fancy their chances of putting another victory on the board in this match, with Albania’s squad very light on experience at senior international level. It might be a stop-start fixture, with both managers set to make wholesale changes during the contest, but Qatar should ultimately have too much quality.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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