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

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


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

Slovenia will make the trip to Malta as resounding favourites ahead of their international friendly on Thursday evening.

The visitors have their place at Euro 2024 booked, while Malta will look to build on improving results in hope of one day making a major tournament themselves.

Match preview

© Reuters

Despite their status as a minnow nation across Europe, Malta are slowly but steadily making great strides to change that.

Home form is always important for the smaller nations if they want to compete, and since the start of 2020, 24 matches here in Ta’Qali have produced only 12 defeats and a very impressive nine wins.

Being drawn into unquestionably the toughest Euro 2024 qualifying group alongside both previous finalists Italy and England, as well as quarter-finalists Ukraine, and 2020 finals debutants North Macedonia, was a tough pill to swallow.

Malta lost all eight outings in the group, but manager Michele Marcolini has got something to work with among his group of players.

In their two friendlies during 2023, both played against opponents closer to their level, Malta recorded two wins, away to a Luxembourg side who will compete in the Euro 2024 playoffs this week, and at home to Gibraltar.

Slovenia will provide a huge challenge though, given the recent form of Matjaz Kek‘s side, as their last 17 outings have provided 11 wins and just two defeats.

Slovenia's Erik Janza celebrates scoring their first goal on November 17, 2023© Reuters

Throughout 2023, Slovenia were very impressive in particular, booking their spot at Euro 2024 by finishing above Finland and Kazakhstan in their section, taking 22 points from 10 games.

Denmark are the only side Slovenia have failed to beat in their last seven, and they will hope to maintain that sort of form heading into the summer, where they will face the Danes again in Germany, as well as England and Serbia.

These two nations are familiar with each other, having faced off in the previous two World Cup qualifying campaigns, as well as for Euro 2004.

Unsurprisingly, Slovenia won all six encounters, and the last four have all been without conceding, including a 4-0 success in Ta’Qali back in October 2021.

Malta friendly form:

Malta form (all competitions):

Slovenia friendly form:

Slovenia form (all competitions):

Team News

Slovenia's Benjamin Sesko celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on October 14, 2023© Reuters

It is a case of one in one out in terms of Malta’s high-profile names for this squad, as Notts County’s Jodi Jones is absent, but Teddy Teuma is in the squad despite a recent injury sustained with his club side Reims.

Yannick Yankam remains in the side despite a left-field move to the USL second tier in America, while there is also a first-ever call-up for midfielder Carlo Zammit Lonardelli.

Nevin Portelli is also back in the Malta squad and could make his first appearance for the national side since 2021 this week.

Slovenia have named a strong squad as they prepare for the Euros in the summer, with captain Jan Oblak and young prodigy Benjamin Sesko with the camp.

Sesko will look to replicate his performance on his previous trip to Malta, where he scored in the 4-0 win in 2021, and he is likely to be paired up front with Andraz Sporar, who is set to earn his 50th cap.

The two glaring omissions from the squad are Miha Zajc and Luka Zahovic, as the rest of the squad featured prevalently in qualifying, but there could also be a senior debut for Bodo/Glimt wide man Nino Zugelj here.

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

SM words green background

We say: Malta 0-3 Slovenia

Slovenia are in superb form, and despite Malta’s recent improvement, another defeat is on the cards for the tiny nation.

Kek’s men have lost just three of their last 14 away games, while they have won six of their previous seven across all venues, and another victory should be added to that run here.

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

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