In the annals of English football this will count as yet another victory in a qualifying match for the European championships. And it is. Unfortunately all it does is feed Scottish style delusions. In the two halves England won one, 5-1 and lost the other 0-2.
Kosovo is a tiny country created out of the old Yugoslavia. In the period 1998-9 Kosovo was subject to a brutal war, which replicated many atrocities that the Nazis would have been proud of,
Serbian military, paramilitary and police forces in Kosovo have committed a wide range of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other violations of international humanitarian and human rights law: forced expulsion of Kosovars from their homes; burning and looting of homes, schools, religious sites and healthcare facilities; detention, particularly of military-age men; summary execution; rape; violations of medical neutrality; and identity cleansing.1
The period 1998-9 is important in this review of the England victory. All Kosovo’s players were children at the time.2 The entire infrastructure of life was smashed. As a tiny country with a population smaller than Birmingham’s with a shattered economy and trauma for every citizen to even have a football team is amazing. Their international standing is 120th..
From this havoc came a team that demonstrated England’s fragility at international level. Yes they won 5-3 but it was abysmal.
2 Arber Zeneli aged 24 was a refugee in Sweden before returning to Kosovo and becoming one of their players. He currently plays for Reims in France in Ligue One.