The Malta futsal team endured a tough start to their commitments in the FIFA Futsal World Cup Preliminary Round, going down to a 12-0 defeat against a very strong Belgium side in Alingsas, Sweden on Wednesday.
The gulf between the two teams – Belgium are 32nd in the FIFA rankings while Malta are currently placed 107th – was evident during Wednesday’s match.
A very skilful Belgian side dominated from start to finish at the Estrad Hall in Alingsås and, as anticipated, proved too strong for the Maltese side who has made progress but still lags behind when competing at this level against more experienced and more talented futsal teams.
Malta began well but it was Belgium who got in front after five minutes through Lucas Pinheiro. The Belgians added four more goals before the break through Pierre Ndjeka (2-0) before finding the net twice in the space of 58 seconds through Souliemane Ouadi and Ahmed Sababti. Karim Chaibai made it 5-0 one minute 33 seconds before the interval.
In the second period, Belgium continued to increase their tally with a brace from Valentin Dujacquier with Lucas Pinheiro, Souliemane Ouadi and Karim Chaibai also adding their second. The other goals for Belgium were scored by Ibrahim Adnane and Matteo Cordier.
Malta went close to a consolation goal midway through the second half when Giancarlo Sammut strode forward before blazing his effort just wide.
The Maltese team meet hosts Sweden in another tough group match on Thursday, starting at 19.00.
MALTA Clint Mifsud, Jovica Milijic, Karl Sciortino, Andy Mangion, Mark Zammit.
Stefan Vella, George Frendo, Matthew Attard, Neil Cauchi, Lee Grech, Shataizan Zarb, Andrè Ciancio, Rennie Tanti, Giancarlo Sammut.
BELGIUM Antoine Mageren, Valentin Dujacquier, Omar Rahou, Mohamed Dahbi Reda, Ibrahim Adnane.
Bram Meyers, Khalid Moussaoui, Ahmed Sababti,
Karim Chaibai, Lucas Diniz Pinheiro, Pierre Ndjeka, Leo, Matteo Cordier, Souliemane Ouadi.