Malta’s opponents in this month’s European Qualifiers leading to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Russia, Slovakia and Croatia – have all named their squads.
Malta hosts Russia at the National Stadium on Wednesday 24, kick-off at 20:45 before two matches away from home against Slovakia at the Štadión Antona Malatinského in Trnava on Saturday 27, kick-off at 20:45, and against Croatia at the Stadion HNK Rijeka in Rijeka on Tuesday 30, also kicking-off at 20:45.
Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov named a 27-man squad, almost exclusively made up of players who ply their trade in the Russian Premier League, with the exception of Alexander Zhirov of Sandhausen, Alexander Golovin of Monaco and Alexey Miranchuk of Atalanta.
After travelling to Malta, Russia host Slovenia on Saturday at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on Saturday and then travel to Trnava to face Slovakia on Tuesday 30.
The players in the Russian squad are:
Goalkeepers: Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow), Soslan Dzhanaev (FC Sochi), Yuri Dupin (Rubin Kazan).
Defenders: Georgy Jikia (Spartak Moscow), Yuri Zhirkov, Vyacheslav Karavaev (both Zenit St. Petersburg), Alexander Zhirov (Sandhausen – Germany), Fedor Kudryashov (Antalyaspor Turkey), Roman Neustadter (Dynamo Moscow), Ilya Samoshnikov (Rubin Kazan), Andrey Semenov (Akhmat Grozny), Igor Smolnikov (Krasnodar), Mario Fernandez (CSKA Moscow).
Midfielders: Ilzat Akhmetov (CSKA Moscow), Alexander Golovin (Monaco – France), Rifat Zhemaletdinov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Roman Zobnin (Spartak Moscow), Alexey Ionov (FC Krasnodar), Daler Kuzyaev, Andrey Mostovoy , Magomed Ozdoev (all Zenit St. Petersburg), Resiuan Mirzov (Khimki), Alexey Miranchuk (Atalanta – Italy), Daniil Fomin (Dynamo Moscow).
Forwards: Artem Dzyuba (Zenit St. Petersburg), Anton Zabolotny (FC Sochi), Alexander Sobolev (Spartak Moscow).
Slovakia head coach Štefan Tarkovič named a 27-man squad which lacks injured midfielder and captain Marek Hamšík, who has just joined IFK Göteborg in Sweden, and goalkeeper Marek Rodák of Fulham.
Petr Pekarík of Hertha Berlin, and possibly Ondrej Duda of Koln and Lázsló Bénes of Augsburg, will leave the squad after the first game against Cyprus and will therefore miss the games against Malta and Russia.
Slovakia play Cyprus away from home on Wednesday 24 at the GSP Stadium before hosting Malta and Russia in Trnava.
The players selected by Štefan Tarkovič are:
Goalkeepers: Martin Dúbravka (Newcastle United – ENG), Dominik Greif (ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Dušan Kuciak (Lechia Gdansk – POL)
Defenders: Peter Pekarík (Hertha Berlin – GER), Ľubomír Šatka (Lech Poznaň – POL), Martin Koscelník (Slovan Liberec -CZE), Milan Škriniar (Inter Milan – ITA), Martin Valjent (RCD Mallorca – SPA), Tomáš Hubočan (Omonia Nicosia – CYP), Lukáš Pauschek (ŠK Slovan Bratislava ), Dávid Hancko (Sparta Prague – CZE)
Midfielders: Ján Greguš (Minnesota United – USA), Albert Rusnák Jr. (Real Salt Lake -USA), Stanislav Lobotka (SSC Napoli – ITA), Patrik Hrošovský (KRC Genk – BEL), Juraj Kucka (Parma Calcio – ITA), Ondrej Duda (1. FC Koln – GER), Róbert Mak (Ferencváros Budapest – HUN), Vladimír Weiss (Slovan Bratislava), László Bénes (FC Augsburg – GER), Lukáš Haraslín (Sassuolo Calcio – ITA), Jakub Hromada (Slavia Praha), Tomáš Suslov (FC Groningen – SWE), Matúš Bero (Vitesse Arnhem – NED)
Forward: Michal Ďuriš (Omonia Nicosia – CYP), Róbert Boženík (Feyenoord Rotterdam – NED), Dávid Strelec (ŠK Slovan Bratislava)
The Slovakia coach also named an additional list of players, who are in stand-by, namely goalkeepers Adam Jakubech (KV Kotrijk – BEL), František Plach (Piast Gliwice – POL), Dominik Holec (Raków Czestochowa – POL); players Boris Sekulič (Chicago Fire – USA), Kristián Koštrna (Spartak Trnava), Denis Vavro (SD Huesca – SPA), Norbert Gyömbér (Salernitana – ITA), Branislav Niňaj, Pavol Šafranko (both OSK Sepsi – ROM), Jakub Holúbek, Tomáš Huk (both Piast Gliwice – POL), Martin Chrien (Mezőkövesd-Zsóry – HUN), Erik Sabo (Caykur Rizespor – TUR), Erik Jirka (CD Mirandes – SPA), Jaroslav Mihalík (Sigma Olomouc – CZE), Róbert Mazáň (MFK Karviná – CZE), Jakub Považanec, Ivan Schranz (both FK Jablonec – CZE), Michal Sipľak (Cracovia Krakov – POL), Miroslav Stoch, Samuel Mráz (both Zaglebie Lubin – POL), David Hrnčár (FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce-Vráble).
Last week, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic named the squad which includes veterans Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic, among others.
Croatia travel to Ljubljana to face Slovenia at the Stadion Stožice on Wednesday 24 and then host Cyprus on Saturday 27 before hosting Malta on Tuesday 30.
The squad is made up of:
Goalkeepers: Lovre Kalinić (Hajduk), Dominik Livaković (Dinamo), Simon Sluga (Luton Town – ENG)
Defenders: Domagoj Vida (Besiktas – TUR), Dejan Lovren (Zenit – RUS), Šime Vrsaljko (Atletico Madrid – SPA), Borna Barišić (Glasgow Rangers – SCO), Duje Ćaleta-Car (Olympique Marseille – FRA), Dario Melnjak (Caykur Rizespor – TUR), Filip Uremović (Rubin Kazan – RUS), Josip Juranović (Legia – POL)
Midfielders: Luka Modrić (Real Madrid – SPA), Mateo Kovačić (Chelsea – ENG), Marcelo Brozović (Inter – ITA), Milan Badelj (Genoa – ITA), Mario Pašalić (Atalanta – ITA), Nikola Vlašić (CSKA Moscow – RUS)
Forwards: Ivan Perišić (Inter – ITA), Andrej Kramarić (Hoffenheim – GER), Ante Rebić (Milan – ITA), Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg – GER), Bruno Petković – Dinamo – CRO), Mislav Oršić (Dinamo – CRO), Ante Budimir (Osasuna – SPA).
Mile Škorić (Osijek), Toma Bašić (Bordeaux – FRA), Marin Pongračić (Wolfsburg – GER), Ivo Grbić (Atletico Madrid – SPA) and Kristijan Lovrić (Gorica) are in stand by.