Preview: Prediction, Team News, and Lineups for Malta vs. Greece

Having both suffered defeats in their initial June friendly matches, Maltese and Greek football teams will face each other in their last game of the 2023-24 season on Tuesday night.

The countries of the Mediterranean gather in Austria, where Malta suffered a significant defeat last Friday; in the meantime, Greece almost managed to secure a draw against Germany, who will be hosting Euro 2024.

Preview of the match

Malta's Paul Mbong celebrating their first goal with Ryan Camenzuli on October 17, 2023

On October 17, 2023, Malta’s Paul Mbong and Ryan Camenzuli celebrated after Mbong scored their first goal, as captured in this image: (C) Reuters

After an unsuccessful run in the European Championship qualifiers, where they were defeated in all eight games and only managed to score twice, Malta began the year 2024 with a much more positive performance, securing a 2-2 draw against Slovakia, who have qualified for the Euros, and keeping a clean sheet against Belarus in March.

Nevertheless, the Reds faced a significant loss against the Czech Republic in their previous match, being defeated by a six-goal difference at the Untersberg-Arena near Salzburg. The Czechs displayed a ruthless efficiency and capitalized on numerous defensive mistakes made by the Maltese team.

In a span of only six minutes, Steve Borg was found guilty of a handball and a penalty was awarded, which was then successfully converted by Antonin Barak. This marked the start of a downward spiral for the team.

In the later part of the game, Malta’s team had to play with only ten players as Joseph Mbong was given a direct red card. As the game was coming to an end, they conceded two more goals, resulting in a humiliating 7-1 loss. The only positive moment for Michele Marcolini‘s team was when Paul Mbong‘s shot in the 59th minute found the back of the net. The rest of the game was a dismal performance for the team.

With the upcoming UEFA Nations League campaign, their focus now shifts to rebuilding confidence as they prepare to close their training camp in Austria. Malta’s return to competitive play in early September will begin with a challenging away match against Moldova.

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On October 13, 2023, Georgios Masouras of Greece, along with teammates Dimitris Pelkas and Konstantinos Mavropanos, celebrates their second goal in a match. Even though they were close to qualifying for Euro 2024 through playoffs, Greece is currently preparing for the upcoming Nations League in League B Group 2, where they will compete against England, Finland, and the Republic of Ireland.

In March, the team that won the European championship in 2004 faced a devastating loss in a penalty shootout in Georgia. This came after they placed third in their qualifying group, with France and the Netherlands above them.

As a result, the Galanolefki will not be able to participate in their fifth consecutive major tournament. The post-Gus Poyet period commenced on Friday evening, with the senior team being led out in Monchengladbach by interim manager Nikolaos Papadopoulos, who is currently in charge of the Under-21s.

In an attempt to secure their first win against Germany, Christos Tzolis made two near attempts before Greece managed to take the lead with a goal from Georgios Masouras. This player had recently experienced success in the Europa Conference League with Olympiacos.

Nevertheless, their opponents were able to tie the score shortly after halftime, and Pascal Gross scored a last-minute goal to prevent the Greeks from securing a confidence-boosting draw. With their upcoming match against a team ranked 121 places lower in the FIFA World Rankings, they will anticipate ending the season with a victory.

Squad Update

This month, Malta’s coach Michele Marcolini will be missing three players due to injury. Luke Montebello, Carlo Zammit-Lonardelli, and Yannick Yankam, who is based in the USA, will all be unavailable for the team.

On a more optimistic note, Ryan Camenzuli and Teddy Teuma, who plays for Reims, made their way back to the starting lineup on Friday after missing out on the March friendly matches. They are also expected to play in the upcoming midweek games.

Experienced defender Steve Borg is expected to resume his role as captain for the Reds, while wing-back Joseph Mbong will be unavailable due to a suspension after being sent off in the match against the Czech Republic.

In the meantime, it is possible that Greece will make alterations after their impressive showing in their previous game. They may opt for a more unconventional lineup when playing in Austria.

Panagiotis Retsos and Konstantinos Tzolakis, who were victorious in the Conference League, may be elevated from the substitutes’ bench. Meanwhile, Vangelis Pavlidis from AZ Alkmaar will aim to take the place of Fotis Ioannidis as the lead striker.

Norwich City’s Dimitris Giannoulis replaced Kostas Tsimikas and George Baldock as the full-backs for Lazaros Rota in the upcoming match against Germany. However, due to injuries, Giorgos Kyriakopoulos may also be considered for a starting position on Tuesday.

Possible starting lineup for Malta:

Bonello; J. Borg, Pepe, S. Borg; Muscat, J. Mbong, Pisani, Guillaumier, Teuma, Camenzuli; Satariano

Probable starting eleven for Greece:

Tzolakis; Rota, Mavrapanos, Retsos, Kyriakopoulos; Bouchalakis, Kourbelis; Masouras, Bakasetas, Limnios; Pavlidis

Our verdict: Greece triumphs over Malta with a score of 2-0.

Greece, with a significant difference in their FIFA World Rankings, are expected to defeat Malta by a minimum of two goals. This is due to their strong performance in Germany, which has boosted their confidence.

Who will win Tuesday's friendly clash between Malta and Greece?

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