UEFA’s youngest members are still an unknown entity to many around the continent, but they are littered with many promising youngsters who have grown up elsewhere in more advanced nations with better infrastructure but jump at the opportunity to come back and represent the nations of their roots.
Despite only becoming a member in 2016, they have already been on one of the longest international unbeaten runs in world football, 15 matches, which spanned from 2017 to 2019, before losing 5-3 to England at St. Mary’s. They would go on to finish third in that qualifying group, narrowly missing out on Euro 2021 behind the Czech Republic, but give elite sides like England something to worry about during 90 minutes of action.
The superstar in Kosovan eyes is Milot Rashica of Werder Bremen, unquestionably the most skilful and quickest player in the squad, while their official top scorer, Vedat Muriqi, currently plays backup to Ciro Immobile at Lazio, after a few prolific seasons in Turkey.
Ligue 1 trio Valon Berisha, Arber Zeneli (Reims) and Bersant Celina (Dijon) all offer an attacking threat from midfield too, but, as we will see a lot during this break, their respective clubs have refused to let them meet up with the squad for the first set of qualifiers, due to travel restrictions.
The draw has done Kosovo no favours, as Spain are a class above and Sweden and Greece both have the pedigree, but they certainly gave the Czechs a run for their money in Euro qualifying, so underestimate them at your peril.
Kosovo are 11/2 to finish in the top two in Group B.