HomeSportsPreview: Malta vs. Greece - prediction, team news, lineups

Preview: Malta vs. Greece – prediction, team news, lineups


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Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s friendly clash between Malta and Greece, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both beaten in their first June friendly, Malta and Greece will meet for their final fixture of the 2023-24 season on Tuesday evening.

The Mediterranean nations convene in Austria, where Malta were heavily beaten last Friday; meanwhile, Greece came close to drawing with Euro 2024 hosts Germany.

Match preview

© Reuters

Following a pointless campaign in European Championship qualifying, when they lost all eight of their fixtures and scored only twice, Malta made a much better start to 2024, drawing 2-2 with Euros-bound Slovakia and holding Belarus goalless in March.

However, the Reds suffered a heavy defeat against the Czech Republic last time out, losing by a six-goal margin at the Untersberg-Arena near Salzburg, where the Czechs were ruthlessly efficient and punished a catalogue of Maltese defensive errors.

After just six minutes, Steve Borg conceded a penalty for handball, subsequently converted by Antonin Barak, and it was almost all downhill from there.

Late on, Malta were reduced to ten men when Joseph Mbong received a straight red card, and in the dying minutes they shipped two more goals to suffer a humbling 7-1 defeat, with Paul Mbong‘s 59th minute strike the only highlight of a grim game for Michele Marcolini‘s men.

Now, they close their Austrian training camp by aiming to rebuild confidence ahead of an upcoming UEFA Nations League campaign: Malta return to competitive action at the start of September, with a tricky away game against Moldova.

Greece's Georgios Masouras celebrates scoring their second goal with Dimitris Pelkas and Konstantinos Mavropanos on October 13, 2023© Reuters

Having narrowly missed out on Euro 2024 in the playoffs, Greece are also tuning up for the next Nations League, when they will face England, Finland and the Republic of Ireland in League B Group 2.

Back in March, the 2004 European champions suffered a heartbreaking penalty-shootout defeat in Georgia, after finishing third in their qualification group, behind only France and the Netherlands.

The Galanolefki must therefore miss out on a fifth successive major tournament, and the post-Gus Poyet era began on Friday evening, when Under-21s coach Nikolaos Papadopoulos – currently holding the fort as interim manager – led the senior side out in Monchengladbach.

Seeking a first-ever victory over Germany, Christos Tzolis came close twice before Greece took the lead through Georgios Masouras, who recently celebrated Europa Conference League success with Olympiacos.

However, their hosts equalised shortly after the break, and Pascal Gross struck the late winner that denied the Greeks a morale-boosting draw; now meeting a nation 121 places below them in the FIFA World Rankings, they will expect to sign off for the season with a win.

Malta friendly form:

Malta form (all competitions):

Greece friendly form:

Greece form (all competitions):

Team News

Malta coach Michele Marcolini reacts on October 14, 2023© Reuters

Malta coach Michele Marcolini is without three injured players this month, with Luke Montebello, Carlo Zammit-Lonardelli and USA-based Yannick Yankam all unavailable.

More positively, Ryan Camenzuli and Reims playmaker Teddy Teuma returned into the starting XI on Friday, having missed out on both March friendlies, and they are also set to feature in midweek.

Veteran defender Steve Borg should captain the Reds again, but wing-back Joseph Mbong must serve a suspension following his dismissal against the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, Greece may make changes following a spirited performance last time out, instead fielding a more experimental lineup in Austria.

Conference League winners Panagiotis Retsos and Konstantinos Tzolakis could be promoted from the bench, while AZ Alkmaar striker Vangelis Pavlidis will hope to displace Fotis Ioannidis up front.

Lazaros Rota and Norwich City’s Dimitris Giannoulis replaced fellow full-backs Kostas Tsimikas and George Baldock in the team to play Germany – the latter pair are sidelined by injury – but Giorgos Kyriakopoulos is a contender to start on Tuesday.

Malta possible starting lineup:
Bonello; J. Borg, Pepe, S. Borg; Muscat, J. Mbong, Pisani, Guillaumier, Teuma, Camenzuli; Satariano

Greece possible starting lineup:
Tzolakis; Rota, Mavrapanos, Retsos, Kyriakopoulos; Bouchalakis, Kourbelis; Masouras, Bakasetas, Limnios; Pavlidis

SM words green background

We say: Malta 0-2 Greece

With a sizeable gap between them in the FIFA World Rankings, Greece are set to see off Malta by at least a two-goal margin, having been buoyed by their impressive showing in Germany.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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