Malta faces Estonia at the Pärnu Rannastaadion in Pärnu, Estonia on Wednesday, kick-off at 17:30, in the last friendly match before the European Qualifiers leading to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Since the last qualifying campaign, Malta played another four friendly matches, losing 2-0 to Jordan in November in Istanbul, holding Moldova in a goalless draw at Ta’ Qali in March and losing 6-0 to the Czech Republic and 2-1 to Austria in two friendly matches in Austria last May.
After missing a number of players in the two friendly matches in Austria, Pietro Ghedin has the full squad at his disposal. Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Jonathan Caruana and Andre Schembri are back but the Italian mentor opted to leave out Justin Haber and Rowen Muscat.
Apart from Andre Schembri who scored his first goal for Boavista during the weekend, the only other two foreign-based players in the squad are Zach Muscat who is now playing for Arezzo and Barnet’s Luke Gambin who left a very good impression in the last game against Austria.
Ghedin is expected to start with Henry Bonello in goal, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius and Zach Muscat as the three central defenders, Clayton Failla and Joseph Zerafa or Ryan Camilleri on the flanks, Roderick Briffa, Bjorn Kristensen and Luke Gambin in midfield with Andre Schembri supporting Alfred Effiong in attack.
This will be the fifth game between Malta and Estonia. Following a goalless draw in a World Cup qualifier at Ta’ Qali in 1992, Malta registered a historic 1-0 win in Tallinn in 1993 in the same competition. Malta defeated Estonia 5-2 in the Malta International Tournament in 2004 but in another friendly match in Tallinn in 2008, Estonia won 2-1.[gallery_bank type=”images” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” display=”all” sort_by=”random” animation_effect=”bounce” album_title=”true” album_id=”6″]