This game didn't produce a pretty performance by either side, but England left Tirana with 3 points as they look to qualify for next year's World Cup finals. Significant changes to the England line-up from the game four days previously were Ashley Cole, who has given his debut, replaced Chris Powell and Nicky Butt took over from Steven Gerrard, who was injured.
In a dull first half neither team managed to produce a clear shot. Before 30 minutes of the game had past, Sol Campbell had to be replaced by Wes Brown due to an injury.
England's first spark of the game came moments after the arrival of Brown, when Beckham curled a lovely free-kick around the Albanian wall but Strakosha punched the ball away.
England inserted fresh legs for the start of the second half as McManaman was substituted for Heskey. Albania however were the ones controlling the game. With less than twenty minutes remaining the game looked to be drifting to a 0-0 tie but Owen put England ahead after pouncing on a through ball from Scholes, and fired the ball under Strakosha.
Paul Scholes extended England's lead thirteen minutes later when he linked with club-mate Andy Cole, who took the ball to the by-line and squared the ball to Scholes.
With the game drawing to a close, Rraklli punished a Ferdinand mistake to bring the game to 2-1 to the visitors. Then Rraklli broke England's defence again and put the ball into the net, but the linesman's flag had been raised for offside.
Then finally a goal in an England shirt for Andy Cole when he teamed up with Heskey to give England a 3-1 win.
Strakosha, Lala, Xhumba, Cipi, Fakaj, Hasi, F Vata (Rraklli 89 mins), Kola (Nukaj 82 mins), Bellai, Bushi,
Subs Not Used: Beqaj, Duro, Skela, Dede, Fortuzi.
Seaman, G Neville, Campbell (Brown 28 mins), Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Beckham, Butt, Scholes, McManaman (Heskey 46 mins), Owen (Sheringham 84 mins), Andy Cole.
Subs Not Used: P Neville, Martyn, Carragher, Fowler. (Full Squad)
Albanian Goal: Rraklli (90 mins)
England Goals: Owen (73 mins), Scholes (85 mins), Andy Cole (90 mins)
Albanian Cautions: Lala, Hasi
England Cautions: G Neville, Andy Cole
Referee: A Hamer (Luxembourg)