After ending the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on a negative note, the Malta national team hopes to start preparation ahead of next year’s EURO 2016 qualifiers with a morale-boosting win in the friendly match against the Faroe Islands on Tuesday, kick-off at 19:00.
The 1-4 defeat to the Czech Republic at Ta’ Qali and the 6-0 loss to Denmark in Copenhagen came as a surprise after a series of good performances, always resulting in narrow defeats and the win over Armenia in Yerevan in June apart from the loss to Bulgaria in Sofia in March. The team is therefore eager to bounce back.
Like Malta, the Faroe Islands finished their World Cup qualifying commitments at the bottom of the table. They collected their only point in a draw with Kazakhstan last month. Thy are ranked 175th, well below Malta’s 140th place. However Malta is yet to beat the Faroe Islands as the Faroes defeated Malta three times in previous encounters. They won 2-1 at Ta’ Qali in a World Cup qualifier in April 1997, then registered another 2-1 in the same World Cup campaign in June 1997 while in a friendly in August 2004, the Faroe Islands defeated Malta 3-2 in Toftir.
National coach Pietro Ghedin is expected to hand goalkeeper Andrew Hogg a place in the starting line-up as the former Pietà and Valletta goalkeeper is back in squad after being left out for the last two qualifiers. Jonathan Caruana is expected to join Andrei Agius as central midfielder ahead of Ryan Camilleri. Ryan Fenech, on the other hand, should replace Gareth Sciberras as one of the holding midfielders. Sciberras together with Rowen Muscat are both ruled out injured.
The match will be controlled by a referee from Poland – Marcin Borski, who will be assisted by Rafal Rostkowski and Krzysztof Myrmus and fourth official Marco Borg.
Tickets for the game cost €6 for adults, €4 for senior citizens and €1 for children under the age of 12.
Photo: Copyright © domenic aquilina