Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions will come face to face with Malta in their penultimate EURO 2024 Qualification match at Wembley Stadium on Friday.
With the final international break of 2023 in full swing, and domestic football on pause, Gareth Southgate’s England are set to play the first of their two games against Malta under the iconic arch of Wembley Stadium on Friday evening. The Three Lions have already secured their place at the 2024 European Championships in Germany, having secured qualification for this prestigious tournament after beating Italy 3 – 1 in October.
As it stands, England sits at the summit of Group C after accumulating no less than 16 points from their 6 EURO 2024 Qualification matches so far. Should they beat Malta, this would confirm the Three Lions as the winners of their qualification group. Ukraine and Italy will continue to fight it out for the second and final automatic qualification spot for the 2024 European Championships.
Let’s now rewind to the beginning of England’s EURO 2024 qualification campaign. The first match in Group C was away against Italy at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, where Harry Kane’s goal (44’ – Penalty) which broke Wayne Rooney’s goal scoring record, helped secure a vital 2 – 1 win in Naples.
Another win followed this time against Ukraine at Wembley Stadium. Harry Kane (37’) and Arsenal star forward Bukayo Saka (40’) were on the scoresheet that day for the Three Lions. Then, Friday night’s opponents Malta were beaten emphatically, with Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold (28’), Harry Kane (31’ – Penalty), Callum Wilson (83’ – Penalty) and an own goal from Ferdinando Apap (8’) ensuring a 4 – 0 win.
England’s victory against Malta was by a considerable margin, but this is not the most emphatic win of their EURO 2024 Qualification campaign at the time of writing. This came against North Macedonia, whom they beat 7 – 0 at Wembley. Harry Kane (29’, 73’ – Penalty), Bukayo Saka (38’, 47’, 51’), Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford (45’) and Manchester City’s Kalvin Phillips (64’) were all on the Three Lions’ scoresheet that day.
After a Kyle Walker goal (41’) ensured a 1 – 1 draw away from home against Ukraine, England returned to winning ways in their most recent EURO 2024 Qualifier, which was the aforementioned 3 – 1 win against Italy that ensured them that all important qualification for the 2024 European Championships in Germany.
Now we move on to England’s penultimate EURO 2024 Qualification match against Michele Marcolini’s Malta side.
The first ever competitive fixture between these two nations was played on 3rd February 1971. It took place in Malta, and it was a European Qualifying match that ended in a 1 – 0 victory for Sir Alf Ramsey’s side thanks to a Martin Peters goal in the latter stages of the first half (34’).
Overall, England and Malta have played just 6 matches against each other, including their first meeting in February 1971. The Three Lions have an outstanding record of winning all 6 of their matches against their Maltese counterparts over the years.
Malta have only scored once in this fixture, and this was a Richard Wright own goal (29’) in a 2 – 1 friendly defeat against Kevin Keegan’s England on 3rd June 2000.
In terms of team news, Gareth Southgate’s side will be without several players, including Tottenham Hotspur’s James Maddison, Chelsea’s Levi Colwill, Jude Bellingham and Lewis Dunk, after they all withdrew from the squad due to injuries earlier this week.
As for Malta, they have a fully fit squad and no fitness concerns ahead of their EURO 2024 Qualification match at Wembley against England on Friday night.
Excitement is building amongst England fans as they anticipate that their team is likely to confirm top spot in Group C tonight with a win.
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