Preview: Kosovo vs. Armenia – prediction, team news, lineups

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

Kosovo host Armenia in an international friendly match on Wednesday.

Neither side have qualified for the forthcoming World Cup, but both nations have Euro 2024 qualifiers in March to prepare for.

Match preview

Kosovo's Ibrahim Dresevic in action with Northern Ireland's Shea Charles on June 9, 2022© Reuters

Kosovo, of course, are still aiming to qualify for their first major international tournament since gaining FIFA and UEFA status as an independent nation in 2016.

Their best effort so far has been finishing third in their group when attempting to qualify for Euro 2020, before losing 2-1 to North Macedonia in a playoff as a result of their solid showing in the Nations League.

In the most recent Nations League campaign, Kosovo finished second in their group in League C, comfortably avoiding relegation to the bottom tier but ultimately never looking like pushing Greece for promotion having finished six points behind them in the end.

Now managed by former Senegal boss Alain Giresse, who took over in February earlier this year, the Frenchman will be hoping for strong showings against Armenia and Faroe Islands in Pristina this week.

Armenia's Tigran Barseghyan celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 28, 2021© Reuters

Armenia, meanwhile, have never qualified for a major international tournament since breaking away from the Soviet Union in 1992 either, coming closest when finishing third in their qualifying group for Euro 2012.

The Mountaineers managed to finish fourth in their qualifying group for Euro 2022, too, ending up ahead of Iceland, who had qualified for two of the previous three major tournaments.

However, Armenia were relegated back to the third tier of the Nations League after succumbing to a 3-2 loss away to Republic of Ireland in September, leading to Joaquin Caparros being relieved from his position as head coach despite guiding the nation to their longest unbeaten run of nine matches during his tenure.

Roman Berezovsky, who made 94 caps for the national team as a player, has been named caretaker manager for the upcoming friendlies against Kosovo and Albania, with the 48-year-old almost certainly set to treat them as an audition for the role on a full-time basis.

Kosovo International Friendlies form:

Kosovo form (all competitions):

Armenia International Friendlies form:

Armenia form (all competitions):

Team News

Kosovo boss Alain Giresse on September 27, 2022© Reuters

Giresse has named an extremely inexperienced squad for the friendlies against Armenia and Faroe Islands, with only Ibrahim Dresevic, Lirim R Kastrati and Lirim M Kastrati in double figures in terms of caps for Kosovo.

Indeed, key players such as Milot Rashica, Vedat Muriqi and Amir Rrahmani have all been rested having been heavily involved for their clubs throughout the domestic season, with Giresse keen to test some of his fringe players ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in March.

Armenia, meanwhile, have gone with more experience, although up to six players could make their international debuts in Pristina on Wednesday.

Inter Milan midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has retired from international football having seemingly played his last game for his country against Germany last year, with Berezovsky’s side severely lacking a creative spark without him.

Kosovo possible starting lineup:
Bekaj; R Kastrati, Dresevic, Dellova; Veliu, Rrudhani, Jashari, Idrizi, L Kastrati; Daku, Topalli

Armenia possible starting lineup:
Buchnev; Terteryan, Mkoyan, Haroyan, Voskanyan, Aventisian; Hovhannisyan, Grigoryan, Dashyan; Bichakhchyan, Shaghoyan

SM words green background

We say: Kosovo 1-1 Armenia

Neither side have named a fully-strength squad by any means, so there are likely to be plenty of nerves on display, especially from the inexperienced players.

As such, we would not be surprised to see both sides settle for a draw should the match be heading that way, especially with little riding on the game beyond pride.

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

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