Malta eye positive results against Latvia and Israel

Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 12:33

Malta face another double header in the space of four days when they are due to face Latvia in Riga on Friday 7th October and then come up against Israel the following Tuesday at Ta’ Qali National Stadium. Both matches are valid for the Euro Championship 2012 Group F.

These matches will present our mentors with a gauge as to what extent our recent improvement, quality wise, can be sustained. The match in Latvia will be a stiff test for the team guided by John Buttigieg, primarily because we shall be performing in alien conditions.

Inspite of these difficulties we should feel confident of turning in a good display and possibly obtain a satisfactory result, which at best could increase our meagre points’ tally.

The same could be said when we play Israel on home soil, four days later. The Maltese supporters only hope that playing in front of the home crowd will not be counter productive and place undue mental pressure on our players. At least when we faced Georgia in our last Group F match we managed to overcome this complex and put up some quality fare.

In seven matches against Israel we managed only two draws and contrived five defeats, most of which, albeit, by a tight scoreline. This time our clan hopes to go one better and register a first victory against opponents who are ranked higher than us.

In the matches between Malta and Latvia there is equilibrium since out of four encounters each team won two matches.

Against Israel if we can throw our inhibitions overboard and maintain our concentration throughout the whole match it is within our capabilities to obtain a positive result against a team which will regard this encounter as one of prestige, given that they are lying third in the table with no chance of qualifying for the final stages. Nevertheless, this tension-free element on the part of Israel may well help them produce their best.

No doubt, Malta will do their utmost to strike their first success against our visitors on the 11th October. The boys in Red will certainly deserve the wholehearted support from the public at Ta’ Qali.

Previous matches between Malta and Israel:

Israel 2   Malta 1 (F)    06.09.84

Israel 1   Malta 1 (F)    02.12.87

Israel 2   Malta 0 (F)    18.10.85

Malta 1   Israel 2 (F)    11.01.89

Malta 0   Israel 2 (EC) 12.10.02

Israel 2   Malta 2 (EC) 10.09.03

Israel 3   Malta 1 (EC) 02.09.10

Previous matches between Malta and Latvia:

Malta 1   Latvia 0 (F)     26.05.92

Latvia 2  Malta  1 (F)     02.06.94

Malta 2   Latvia 1 (RT)  08.02.98

Malta 0   Latvia 2 (EC)  07.09.10

Legend: F – Friendly; EC – European Championship; RT – Rothmans Tournament

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