Malta hopes to bounce back in friendly match against Greece

Following a highly disappointing 7-1 defeat to Czechia on Friday, Malta hopes to bounce back with a good performance in another friendly match on Tuesday, facing Greece at the MGG Arena in Grödig, Austria, kick-off at 18:00.

Addressing the media on Monday, Malta coach Michele Marcolini said “We need to now turn the anger into a reaction and focus on tomorrow’s game.”

Marcolini emphasised on the importance of learning from past mistakes and pointed to specific errors and wrong choices made during the Czechia game, underscoring the necessity for improvement.

“We were well prepared for the last game but were not able to show our work on the pitch.”

Photo courtesy of domenic aquilina / Malta FA

The Malta coach admitted he will make a number of changes to the line-up.

“I will be changing and giving space to those players that I think deserve it after the hard work shown during training.”

“Pepe is not available, and Steve Borg is feeling pain, so we will not risk him.”
Marcolini added he planned to make 4 or 5 changes to address fatigue and to provide opportunities for other players, with an eye on future competitions, particularly the UEFA Nations League.

With regards to Malta’s opponents on Tuesday, Marcolini acknowledged the strength of the Greek team.

“Greece are a very strong team. They have lost the possibility to play in the EURO after penalties against Georgia and put in an amazing performance against Germany, losing at the last minute.”

“We suffered from the physicality of Czechia as they have five or six players taller than 1.90m, but Greece are very technical, aggressive and very compact.”

Despite the challenges, Marcolini stressed the importance of focusing on Malta’s own style of play. “We need to focus on our style of play and will to continue to show that we are moving forward even if the last game stopped our growth.”

He emphasized the need to turn the team’s frustration into a positive force on the pitch. “We need to use the anger and frustration, take it with us in tomorrow’s game against Greece, and give an answer on the pitch.”

Meanwhile Zach Muscat stressed the importance of reflection and accountability following their recent setback.

“We have to contemplate and analyze the upset of the last game and take responsibility,” Muscat stated, highlighting the team’s commitment to learning from their mistakes.

He emphasized the need to channel their anger and frustration positively, using it as motivation for the upcoming match against Greece.

Reflecting on the previous encounter with Greece two years ago, Muscat acknowledged that both teams have evolved. “They are building something new; however, we are also focused on the Nations League. This is not just a friendly but also a good test of preparation for next September.”

The 2-2 draw with Greece in November 2022 was the first friendly match between the two countries. The two teams, however, had met ten times in European Championship qualifiers, winning one game, losing seven with the other two matches ending in draws.

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