Opinion: Tricky test awaits Malta’s senior side ahead of international break

It’s been a forgetful few years for Malta’s international senior team, as they’ve struggled for any sort of momentum, which means that confidence in the camp is likely to be considerably low.

They’ve lost all five of their qualifying matches for the upcoming European Championships, which are set to take place in 2024. Furthermore, they’ve only managed to score one goal from those five matches, and the future looks bleak for the rest of the qualifying campaign, which is set to resume in October.

It doesn’t get any easier for Malta either, as they’re set to take on Italy and Ukraine during the week of international fixtures, and it seems a tough ask if they’re to pick up points in their quest to be lifted off of the bottom of Group C. They find themselves seven points adrift at the foot of the table, and will know themselves that it’s a tricky test to pick up points from this group in particular.

It’s a closely-contested group in general, with fourth-placed North Macedonia being level on points with second-placed Italy after five matches in this qualifying campaign, and with Malta not picking up any points from their matches so far, the writing seems to be on the wall. There have been glimpses of their quality in some matches, as they had the better of the statistics in the recent 2-0 defeat to North Macedonia, although their supporters are highly likely to be frustrated with the lack of cutting edge in front of goal.

Malta face Italy on Saturday 14th October 2023, and it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see them coming away with any points from that game, especially considering they’re away from home in Italy. The Italians produced a dominant display in the reverse fixture of this tie, and although they only won the game 2-0, they didn’t need to get out of second gear for the majority of the contest.

It’s been revealed by betting experts at BonusCodeBets that Malta are priced at 66/1 on Sky Bet to beat Italy. Below, you’ll find the full betting match odds for this match.

  • Italy to win @ 1/66
  • Draw @ 16/1
  • Malta to win @ 66/1

Odds displayed are correct as of 4:20 pm, Friday 6th October 2023. Odds are subject to change.

That trip to Italy is then followed by a clash with Ukraine, in what is Malta’s final home match of this qualifying campaign. With Ukraine likely to need a win from that match to stand a chance of automatic qualification for the 2024 European Championship, it’ll be a tough ask for Malta to take any points from this match. They were only beaten 1-0 by Ukraine earlier in this qualification campaign, but in terms of statistics, they were on the back foot for large parts of the game, which resulted in Ukraine having 19 shots compared to Malta’s four.

There has been some improvement in terms of scorelines over the last year from Malta’s perspective, as in previous years, they were on the receiving end of some heavy defeats, so it’s good to see them keeping the scoreline respectable nowadays, and it’s something to build on for future matches, especially if they’ve beaten the likes of Gibraltar, Luxembourg, and Israel in the last year.