The Malta women’s national team takes on Turkey in another match from Group 5 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Centenary Stadium on Saturday, kick-off at 15:00.
This will be the fourth game for Malta in the group. Following two heavy defeats to Spain at Ta’ Qali in September and European championship finalists England away from home in October, Malta did quite well in a 0-2 defeat to Austria in November.
Coach Pierre Brincat is aware this will be another difficult task for the girls.
“We played against Turkey three years ago in a UEFA Women’s tournament when they defeated us 3-0 (in Estonia in July 2008). Since then, they have strengthened their squad, also including players based in Germany. They will be coming here to achieve a positive result,” said Brincat.
So far, Turkey have only played two matches in the group – losing 0-5 to Spain and 0-3 to England. Both games were played at home.
“Following the heavy defeats to Spain and England, against Austria, we performed much better and I hope that against Turkey, we will do well once again,” concluded Pierre Brincat.
Captain Rebecca D’Agostino said the players have learned from their mistakes and this was evident from the game against Austria.
“We have learned our lessons from our first two matches. The performance against Austria was quite encouraging and therefore if we work together as a team, we could do well against Turkey,” said D’Agostino.
Photo: Copyright © domenic aquilina
Natasha Pace will be back for Malta after missing the Austria game after serving a one-match ban. Nina Dimech and Sharon Costantino will be fighting for the number one shirt as Michelle Zahra is not part of the squad after recovering from an injury only a few days ago.
The players selected by coach Pierre Brincat and his assistant Mark Gatt are:
goalkeepers Sharon Costantino, Nina Dimech (Birkirkara);
defenders Maria Azzopardi (Hibs), Rebecca Chircop (Mosta), Rebecca D’Agostino (Mosta), Marisa Deguara (Mosta), Natasha Pace (Mosta), Kim Parnis (Birkirkara), Charlene Zammit (Hibs);
midfielders Catherine Camilleri (Birkirkara), Rachael Cuschieri (Birkirkara), Mandy Debono (Hibs), Dorianne Theuma (Mosta), Corissa Vella White (Hibs);
forwards Kathleen Saliba (Hibs), Ylenia Carabott (Raiders), Emma Xuereb (Gozo), Gabriella Zahra (Melita).
Malta vs Turkey will be controlled by Russian referee Irina Tereshchenko who will be assisted by assistant referees Anna Gnevysheva and Elena Nuykina. Glenn Tonna will be the fourth official.
Next month, Malta will be travelling to Turkey for a game scheduled on April 11. Pierre Brincat’s side then hosts England on May 20 before two final games against Austria on June 9 and Spain on June 24, both game away from home.