Malta coach Ray Farrugia has finalised the 23-man squad ahead of the Euro 2020 Group F qualifying match against Sweden at the Friends Arena on Friday, kick-off 20.45.
Captain Michael Mifsud will not make the trip to Stockholm on Wednesday evening as he is recovering from a minor injury. His condition will be reassessed by the national team’s medical staff after the contingent’s return from Sweden on Saturday.
Farrugia and his coaching team had named a provisional 26-strong squad for the away match against Sweden and the home qualifier against Romania this coming Monday but Sliema Wanderers midfielder Ryan Fenech and Leighton Grech, the Senglea Athletic winger, had dropped out with injuries.
The final 23-man selection means a first call-up for Mosta’s Dexter Xuereb.
Farrugia is relying on most of the players who were part of the squad for the opening qualifiers but there are also some new faces with Ħamrun Spartans midfielder Triston Caruana also getting the nod together with Xuereb.
Birkirkara midfielder Matthew Guillaumier and Ħamrun Spartans defender Karl Micallef are sidelined with injuries along with Hibernians striker Jurgen Degabriele and Sliema Wanderers forward Jean Paul Farrugia.
The Sweden encounter will be Malta’s third in this Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
In their opening two Group F outings in March, both at home, Malta obtained an uplifting 2-1 victory over Faroe Islands before producing a resilient performance in a 2-0 home defeat to Spain.
Sweden have four points after opening their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win over Romania and a 3-3 draw against Norway.
Romania have three points after beating Faroe Islands 4-1 at home in their second qualifier.
Henry Bonello (Valletta); Justin Haber (Gżira United); Andrew Hogg (Birkirkara).
Andrei Agius (Hibernians); Ferdinando Apap (Victoria Hotspurs); Steve Borg (Valletta); Jonathan Caruana (Valletta); Joseph Mbong (Hibernians); Zach Muscat (SC Olhanense, Portugal); Dexter Xuereb (Mosta); Joseph Zerafa (Valletta).
Triston Caruana (Ħamrun Spartans); Juan Corbalan (Gżira United); Paul Fenech (Balzan); Luke Gambin (Crawley Town); Jake Grech (Hibernians); Bjorn Kristensen (Hibernians); John Mintoff (Sliema Wanderers); Rowen Muscat (Valletta); Dunstan Vella (Hibernians).
Alfred Effiong (Balzan); Luke Montebello (Birkirkara); Kyrian Nwoko (Valletta).