Malta seeks a good performance against the Czech Republic

After losing to Armenia and Italy last month, Malta plays the the third game from Group B of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers at the Doosan Arena in Plzen on Friday, kick-off at 18:00.

Malra lost 0-1 to Armenia and then 2-0 to Italy in Modena but without any doubt the team’s best performance was against Cesare Prandelli when an early goal and a controversial goal deep into stoppage time made the whole difference between Pietro Ghedin’s side and the vice European champions.

Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

From the team which faced Italy, Ghedin is forced to make at least one change as Daniel Bogdanovic is ruled out injured. Also ruled out injured are Andrew Cohen, who was included as a substitute and Ryan Fenech. On the other hand, Clayton Failla is still sidelined due to a four-match ban on doping charges.

John Mintoff or Shaun Bajada could replace Bogdanovic in the starting line-up with Edward Herrera playing on the right in the latter case.

Malta should therefore start with Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Luke Dimech, Alex Muscat, Roderick Briffa, Gareth Sciberras, John Mintoff or Shaun Bajada, Edward Herrera, Andre Schembri and Michael Mifsud.

The other players at the disposal of Ghedin are Justin Haber, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Caruana, Paul Fenech and uncapped duo Ayrton Azzopardi and Terence Vella.

In Plzen, Malta seeks the first positive result in Group B, aiming for a good performance is a more realistic objective.

In the last two games in the Czech Republic, Malta did quite well, losing 3-2 in a World Cup qualifier in September 2001 in Teplice and 1-0 in a friendly match in June 2009 in Jablonec nad Nisou. The other two previous encounters ended in a comfortable 6-1 win for the Czech Republic in a European Championship qualifier in September 1994 and a 6-0 win in a World Cup qualifier in September 1996.

The Czech Republic will again be without injured captain Tomas Rosicky, who is ruled out injured. The Czech attack will feature 20-year-old Watford striker Matej Vydra and 23-year-old Nuremberg player Tomas Pekhart.

They have only played one match so far in the group, holding Denmark in a goalless draw away from home. They failed to score in the last three matches – the other two games being a friendly game in Ukraine ending in a goalless draw in August and a narrow defeat at home to Finland last month.

The squad at the disposal of coach Michal Bilek is made up of:
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech (Chelsea), Jaroslav Drobny (Hamburg), Jan Lastuvka (Dnetropetrovsk)
defenders Theodor Gebre Selassie (Werder Bremen), Roman Hubnik (Hertha Berlin), Michal Kadlec (Bayer Leverkusen), David Limbersky (Viktoria Plzen), Frantisek Rajtoral (Vitkoria Plzen), Tomas Sivok (Besiktas), Marek Suchy (Spartak Moscow)
midfielders Vladimir Darida (Viktoria Plzen), Josef Husbauer (Sparta Prague), Tomas Huebschmann (Shakhtar Doneck), Petr Jiracek (Hamburg), Milan Petrzela (Augsburg), Jaroslav Plasil (Girondins Bordeaux), Jan Rezek (Famagusta)
forwards David Lafata (Jablonec), Tomas Pekhart (Nuremberg), Matej Vydra (Watford)

Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

Betsonic 1X2 odds
Czech Rep to win 1.08 – Draw 10.50 – Malta to win 44.00

Over 1.5 goals : 1.13 – Under 1.5 goals : 6.2
Over 2.5 goals : 1.40 – Under 2.5 goals : 2.76
Over 3.5 goals : 1.98 – Under 3.5 goals : 1.73
Over 4.5 goals : 3.25 – Under 4.5 goals : 1.31
Over 5.5 goals : 6.60 – Under 5.5 goals : 1.11

Double Chance odds
Czech Rep or Draw : 1.01
Czech Rep or Malta : 1.06
Draw Or Malta : 9.00

Draw No Bet (money back if draw)
Czech Rep : 1.01
Malta : 42.00

Odd/Even goals
Odd : 1.84
Even : 1.86

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