England prove too strong for Malta

An own goal after just nine minutes paved the way for England who went on to score another three goals, including two penalties, for a 4-0 win over Malta in a match from Group C of the European Qualifiers leading to EURO 2024 at the National Stadium on Friday.

The visitors proved too strong for the locals, taking a three-goal lead by the end of the first half and controlling the proceedings without particular difficulty during the second half, adding another thanks to a penalty late in the game.

Malta coach Michele Marcolini opted for four changes from the team which defeated Luxembourg on Friday as Cain Attard replaced Ryan Camenzuli on the left flank, Bjorn Kristensen and Teddy Team were back in midfield in lieu of Jake Grech and Yannick Yankam while Kyrian Nwoko was preferred to Luke Montebello up front. 

Photos courtesy of Andrew Grima

Henry Bonello started in goal, Ferdinando Apap, Steve Borg and Zach Muscat were employed at the back, Joseph Mbong and Cain Attard on the flanks, Matthew Guillaumier, Bjorn Kristensen and Teddy Team in midfield with Jodi Jones and Kyrian Nwoko in attack. 

The locals never tested goalkeeper Jordan Pickford throughout the ninety minutes and they only managed to threaten the opponents’ rear-guard once, after eight minutes, when Teddy Teuma served Cain Attard with an intelligent pass but Kieran Trippier anticipated the Birkirkara, clearing the ball into safety.

The visitors took the lead one minute later. Trent Alexander-Arnold sent Bukayo Saka through on the right and off the latter’s cross, Ferdinando Apap, in an attempt to anticipate Kane, beat Bonello for an own goal. 

Henry Bonello performed a good save on a James Maddison freekick on the 23rd minute.

However five minutes later, England doubled the score. Trent Alexander-Arnold took a loose ball following a clearance by Steve Borg and a with a well-placed shot from outside the area beat the Malta goalkeeper. 

Photos courtesy of www.stephengatt.com

England made it 3-0 on the 31st minute. A shot from outside the area by Declan Rice was partially saved by Bonello and Matthew Guillaumier brought Harry Kane down as the latter was about to conclude. From the penalty spot, Harry Kane converted.

Seven minutes from time, England scored the fourth goal after they were awarded another penalty following VAR review as Steve Borg handled the ball following a cross shot by Callum Wilson. Wilson converted from the penalty spot. 

Malta now travels to Trnava, Slovakia where Michele Marcolini’s side faces Ukraine on Monday.

Photos courtesy of Andrew Grima

MALTA Henry Bonello, Cain Attard (87’ Juan Corbalan), Steve Borg, Matthew Guillaumier (46’ Yannick Yankam), Joseph Mbong, Kyrian Nwoko (60’ Alexander Satariano), Teddy Teuma, Jodi Jones (76’ Jurgen Degabriele), Ferdinando Apap, Bjorn Kristensen (60’ Nikolai Muscat), Zach Muscat. 

ENGLAND Jordan Pickford, Kieran Trippier, Luke Shaw (60’ Tyrone Mings), Declan Rice, Marc Guehi, Harry Maguire, Bukayo Saka (46’ Phil Foden), Jordan Henderson (60’ Marcus Rashford), Harry Kane (60’ Callum Wilson), Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Maddison (69’ Eberechi Eze). 

Referee: Igor Pajac CRO
Assistant Referees: Goran Pataki, Ivan Mihalj CRO
Fourth Official: Patrick Kolaric CRO
Video Assistant Referee: Duje Struka CRO
Assistant VAR: Fran Jovic CRO
Attendance: 16,277

Photos below courtesy of Domenic Aquilina / Malta FA