Malta vs. Slovenia clash in an international friendly

Underdog Malta faces Euro-Bound Slovenia in a test of grit and talent

As the international break unfolds, Malta is set to host Slovenia in a friendly encounter a test of progress for the underdogs against a team celebrating their Euro 2024 berth. This Thursday evening, the spotlight turns to Malta, eager to defy the odds and showcase their evolving football narrative.

Despite being perceived as minnows in the European football landscape, Malta’s trajectory is on an uptick. Their home ground, Ta’Qali, has been a fortress of sorts, with the team securing nine wins out of 24 matches since 2020—a record that speaks volumes of their growing resilience.

However, the draw for the Euro 2024 qualifiers placed Malta in a veritable ‘Group of Death’, pitting them against powerhouses Italy and England, alongside formidable sides Ukraine and North Macedonia. Although Malta didn’t secure a win in this group, the experience was invaluable.

In contrast, Slovenia, under the astute guidance of Matjaz Kek, has been enjoying a purple patch, clinching their Euro 2024 spot with a series of commendable performances. Their campaign was highlighted by victories that showcased their tactical flexibility and squad depth.

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Team Dynamics:
Malta’s squad sees a mix of seasoned campaigners and fresh faces. The absence of Jodi Jones is offset by the inclusion of Teddy Teuma, despite his recent injury scare. Yannick Yankam’s presence, fresh off his American adventure, adds intrigue to the lineup, alongside Carlo Zammit Lonardelli’s first call-up.

Slovenia, on the other hand, boasts strength and experience in their ranks, with Jan Oblak leading the team. Benjamin Sesko, fresh from his heroics in Ta’Qali in 2021, is set to partner with Andraz Sporar upfront, aiming to add to his impressive goal tally.

Malta possible starting lineup:
Bonello; J Mbong, S Borg, Pepe, J Borg, Camenzuli; Yankam, Guillaumier, Teuma; Reid, P Mbong

Slovenia possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Karnicnik, Blazic, Bijol, Janza; Stojanovic, Gnezda Cerin, Elsnik, Mlakar; Sesko, Sporar

Tactical Preview:
Malta will likely adopt a conservative approach, aiming to exploit Slovenia’s few vulnerabilities. Slovenia’s game plan, conversely, will hinge on their midfield’s creativity to supply Sesko and Sporar with scoring opportunities.

Prediction:
While the heart roots for an upset, the head forecasts a 3-1 victory for Slovenia. Kek’s men have demonstrated their prowess both home and away, and this encounter might be an extension of their formidable form.

Looking Ahead:
This match is more than just a scoreline for Malta; it’s about measuring growth against top-tier opposition. For Slovenia, it’s a perfect tune-up for the challenges that lie ahead in Germany.

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Who will win Thursday's friendly clash between Malta and Slovenia?

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