Malta was drawn in Group B together with Italy, Denmark, Bosnia Herzegovina, Israel and Georgia in the UEFA Women’s EURO. The draw featuring a record forty seven teams was held in Nyon on Thursday.
Matches will be played home and away from 26 August 2019 to 22 September 2020.
This is the first time Malta have been drawn in the same group as Italy in a senior women’s competition. Italy, under the guidance of Milena Bertolini, have qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final tournament after a lapse of 20 years. Their squad features several players from Serie A champions Juventus, including goalkeeper Laura Giuliani, skipper Sara Gama, midfielder Martina Rosucci and forward Barbara Bonansea.
Malta met Denmark in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying round with the latter winning both matches, 5-0 and 8-0. One of the star players in Denmark’s squad is Pernille Harder, the 2018 UEFA Women’s Player of the Year who turns out for VfL Wolfsburg. The Danes reached the final of the last European Championship, losing 4-2 against the Netherlands, the tournament hosts.
Meanwhile, Malta have played against the other three Group B teams in the past – Bosnia in the 2005 Women’s Euro qualifiers, Israel in the 2015 Women’s World Cup preliminaries and Georgia, whom the Maltese girls beat 2-1 in the 2017 European qualifiers.
The group winners and the three runners-up with the best record against the sides first, third, fourth and fifth in their sections will join hosts England in the final tournament. The other six runners-up will play off in October 2020 for the remaining three berths in the 16-team finals to be held the following summer.
Group A: Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Kosovo, Estonia
Group B: Italy, Denmark, Bosnia Herzegovina, Israel, Malta, Georgia
Group C: Norway, Wales, Belarus, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands
Group D: Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Moldova, Azerbaijan
Group E: Scotland, Finland, Portugal, Albania, Cyprus
Group F: Sweden, Iceland, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia
Group G: France, Austria, Serbia, Kazakhstan, FYR Macedonia
Group H: Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania
Group I: Germany, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Greece, Montenegro