Malta was drawn with Italy, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Norway and Croatia in Group H of the EURO 2016 qualifying round which was held in Nice, France on Sunday.
Malta met Italy and Bulgaria in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and Azerbaijan in a friendly match last year. The last time Malta played Croatia was in 2011 and Norway in 2007.
The European Qualifiers will run from September 2014 to October 2015. For the first time, qualifying takes place under the new ‘Week of Football’ concept, which sees games played from Thursday to Tuesday. Kick-off times will be set mainly at 18.00CET and 20.45CET on Saturdays and Sundays and 20.45CET for Thursdays, Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays. On double-header matchweeks, teams play on Thursday/Sunday, Friday/Monday or Saturday/Tuesday.
AZERBAIJAN: Malta met Azerbaijan four times in three friendly matches and a match from the Malta International Tournament. Malta won the first three clashes but the last game played in Baku last August ended in a 3-0 win for Azerbaijan.
19/04/1994 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Azerbaijan 5:0 Friendly Match
06/02/2000 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Azerbaijan 3:0 Malta International Tournament
17/04/2002 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Azerbaijan 1:0 Friendly Match
14/08/2013 (Baku) Azerbaijan vs Malta 3:0 Friendly Match
BULGARIA: Malta and Bulgaria met eleven times with the Bulgarians winning nine of these matches. The other games – a friendly match in December 1982 and a World Cup qualifier in October 2005 – ending in draws.
11/06/1975 (Sofia) Bulgaria vs Malta 5:0 European Championship
21/12/1975 (Gzira) Malta vs Bulgaria 0:2 European Championship
14/10/1982 (Sofia) Bulgaria vs Malta 7:0 Friendly Match
26/12/1982 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Bulgaria 0:0 Friendly Match
07/10/2000 (Sofia) Bulgaria vs Malta 3:0 World Cup
01/09/2001 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Bulgaria 0:2 World Cup
13/10/2004 (Sofia) Bulgaria vs Malta 4:1 World Cup
12/10/2005 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Bulgaria 1:1 World Cup
18/11/2009 (Paola) Malta vs Bulgaria 1:4 Bulgaria World Cup
22/03/2013 (Sofia) Bulgaria vs Malta 6:0 World Cup
10/09/2013 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Bulgaria 1:2 World Cup
CROATIA: Malta met Croatia six times with Croatia winning five of the games, one ending in a draw – a World Cup qualifier in September 2005.
10/10/1998 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Croatia 1:4 European Championship
21/08/1999 (Zagreb) Croatia vs Malta 2:1 European Championship
30/03/2005 (Zagreb) Croatia vs Malta 3:0 World Cup
07/09/2005 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Croatia 1:1 World Cup
17/11/2010 (Zagreb) Croatia vs Malta 3:0 European Championship
02/09/2011 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Croatia 1:3 European Championship
ITALY: Malta met Italy six times with the Azzurri winning the six games.
06/12/1986 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Italy 0:2 European Championship
24/01/1987 (Bergamo) Italy vs Malta 5:0 European Championship
19/12/1992 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Italy 1:2 World Cup
24/03/1993 (Palermo) Italy vs Malta 6:1 World Cup
11/09/2012 (Modena) Italy vs Malta 2:0 World Cup
26/03/2013 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Italy 0:2 World Cup
NORWAY: Malta met Norway eight times – six wins for Norway and two draws.
05/11/1961 (Gzira) Malta vs Norway 1:1 Friendly Match
03/07/1962 (Trondheim) Norway vs Malta 5:0 Friendly Match
07/02/1990 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Norway 1:1 Malta International Tournament
14/12/1994 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Norway 0:1 European Championship
07/06/1995 (Oslo) Norway vs Malta 2:0 European Championship
09/02/2005 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Norway 0:3 Friendly Match
02/06/2007 (Oslo) Norway vs Malta 4:0 European Championship
21/11/2007 (Ta’ Qali) Malta vs Norway 1:4 European Championship
The fifty-three teams in the draw were originally split into six pots based on their UEFA national team coefficients (taking into account results from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, EURO 2012 and the 2014 World Cup qualifying). Malta was placed among the bottom-seeds together with Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands, Andorra, San Marino and Gibraltar.
The top two teams in each group will qualify for the finals in France along with the third-placed side with the best record against the nations first, second, fourth and fifth in their pool. The remaining eight third-placed teams will play off in November 2015 for the remaining four berths.
Meanwhile France were partnered with the teams in Group I which will enable the 2016 tournament hosts to play friendlies against these countries on their ‘spare’ dates.
Group A: Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Iceland, Latvia, Turkey, Czech Republic.
Group B: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Andorra, Cyprus, Wales, Israel, Belgium.
Group C: Spain, Luxembourg, FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Slovakia, Ukraine.
Group D: Germany, Gibraltar, Georgia, Scotland, Poland, Republic of Ireland.
Group E: England, San Marino, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Switzerland.
Group F: Greece, Faroe Islands, Northern Ireland, Finland, Romania, Hungary.
Group G: Russia, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Austria, Sweden.
Group H: Italy, Malta, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Norway, Croatia.
Group I: Portugal, Albania, Armenia, Serbia, Denmark.
UEFA EURO 2016/European Qualifiers calendar
Matchday 1: 7–9 September 2014
Matchday 2: 9–11 October 2014
Matchday 3: 12–14 October 2014
Matchday 4: 14–16 November 2014
Matchday 5: 27–29 March 2015
Matchday 6: 12–14 June 2015
Matchday 7: 3–5 September 2015
Matchday 8: 6–8 September 2015
Matchday 9: 8–10 October 2015
Matchday 10: 11–13 October 2015
Play-off first leg: 12–14 November 2015
Play-off second leg: 15–17 November 2015
Final tournament draw: 12 December 2015
Final tournament (France): 10 June–10 July 2016