National teams in action next Wednesday

National coach Pietro Ghedin and Under-21 coach Ray Farrugia named the provisional sqauds ahead of next Wednesday’s friendly matches. The senior side will face Northern Ireland at the National Stadium at 19:30 while the Under-21 side hosts Austria at the Hibernians Stadium kick-off at 14:30.

The match against Northern Ireland will be another one in a series of try-outs before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group B matches away against Bulgaria on 22 March and at home against Italy four days later.

National coach Pietro Ghedin will use this match to size up the tactical options of his team while at the same time using several players in his squad.

It will be another friendly test after the five previous ones which were all won by our boys. The match will be the seventh against Northern Ireland, four of which were in the World Cup group stage and the other three friendly games. Malta lost the first five and drew the last one, and this time they will hope to go one better and register what would be a morale-boosting victory prior to their competitive engagements.

There are three uncapped players in the squad, namely Jacob Dominico Borg of Balzan, Tarxien’s Justin Grioli and Sliema’s Clifford Gatt Baldacchino.

Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar / MFA

The senior side is made up of:
goalkeepers Reuben Gauci (Birkirkara), Justin Haber (Birkirkara), Andrew Hogg (Enosis Neon Paralimni – CYP);
defenders Andrei Agius (Latina – ITA), Jacob Dominico Borg (Balzan), Ryan Camilleri (Hibs), Jonathan Caruana (Valletta), Luke Dimech (Valletta), Clayton Failla (Hibs), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino (Sliema), Justin Grioli (Tarxien), Alex Muscat (Sliema), Joseph Zerafa (Birkirkara);
midfielders Shaun Bajada (Sliema), Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Ryan Fenech (Valletta), Rowen Muscat (Birkirkara), Gareth Sciberras (Birkirkara);
forwards Danijel Bogdanovic (Valletta), Andrew Cohen (Hibs), Michael Mifsud (Valletta), Andre Schembri (Omonia Nicosia – CYP), Terence Vella (Hamrun).

Meanwhile the Under-21 side’s friendly match against Austria will also be a build-up match for the boys under the tutelage of coach Ray Farrugia who will be scrutinising the technical and physical qualities of the players in his squad before his team takes on other opponents in the Euro Championship preliminary stage.

The players in the Under-21 provisional squad are:
goalkeepers Jurgen Borg (Zejtun), Yenz Cini (Valletta), Jean Matthias Vella (Vittoriosa);
defenders Sacha Borg (Floriana), Ryan Camenzuli (Birkirkara), Christian Grech (Pietà), Zach Muscat (Birkirkara), Ryan Sammut (Tarxien), Matthew Tabone (Vittoriosa);
midfielders Terence Agius (Pietà), Ayrton Azzopardi (Hibs), Johann Bezzina (Hibs), Clyde Borg (Floriana), Brooke Farrugia (Floriana), Bjorn Kristensen (Hibs), Brandon Muscat (Hibs), Ryan Scicluna (Birkirkara), Peter Xuereb (San Gwann), Daniel Zerafa (Hibs);
forwards Daren Falzon (Naxxar), Jean Paul Farrugia (Hibs), Lydon Micallef (Vittoriosa), Steve Pisani (Hibs).