Malta to face heavyweights Spain in Euro 2020 qualifiers

Sunday, December 2, 2018, 18:40

Malta will face Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania and the Faroe Islands in Group F of the qualifying campaign for Euro 2020.

The qualifying draw for the next European Championship, to be played across 12 cities in 2020, was made on Sunday at The Convention Centre in Dublin.

UEFA are due to issue the fixture schedules for all 10 groups later on Sunday with the qualifying matches scheduled to take place between March and November 2019.

Ray Farrugia, the Malta coach who was present for the draw, said: “It’s a very difficult group, everyone knows that, but this is the outcome of the draw.

“We need to look ahead and prepare as best as we can for these stern challenges.

“It goes without saying that Spain are one of the best teams in the world. We have two strong Scandinavian teams in the group, Sweden and Norway, who have won their UEFA Nations League groups, together with Romania and Faroe Islands who we know very well.”

Farrugia stressed that he and his coaching staff will continue to work to raise the level of our national team while introducing more young players into the senior squad.

“The first words I said on my appointment as national coach were that we wanted to build on what we have and bring more young players into the squad,” Farrugia said.

“We intend to introduce more youngsters into the squad but to to do this we need to ensure that our preparations are as good as they can be.

“We need more time with the national team players, especially before these tough European qualifiers.”

As one of the five teams in Pot Six, Malta were certain to be drawn in one of the five six-team groups but couldn’t be drawn against any of the four finalists of the UEFA Nations League, Switzerland, Portugal, Netherlands and England.

Malta has played against former world and European champions Spain, Sweden, Norway and Faroe Islands in competitive matches in the past but our national team has never met Romania in a competitive fixture.

The draw also means that Malta will be facing Faroe Islands for the second successive UEFA competition after the two teams were in Group D3 of the recently-concluded UEFA Nations League group phase.

Malta drew 1-1 at home to Faroe Islands, who were in Pot Five for the Euro 2020 draw, in their final UEFA Nations League match on November 20 but the Faroese had won the home match 3-1 back in September.

In the UEFA Nations League, Spain finished second in Group A4, one point behind winners England, Sweden won Group B2 and have been promoted to League A, Norway topped Group C3 and move up to League B, Romania finished second in Group C4 and Faroe Islands third in Group D3.

Faroe Islands will be Malta’s first opponents on March 23 followed by the eagerly-awaited game, also at home, against European giants Spain three days later (March 26). The fixture lists of all 10 groups was published by UEFA on Sunday night followed the Euro 2020 qualifying draw held earlier in the day.

After their opening two qualifiers in March, Malta, under the guidance of coach Ray Farrugia, continue their Euro 2020 campaign in June with an away match against Sweden on June 7 followed by a home encounter with Romania on the 10th.

September will bring two away assignments for Malta – against Norway (05/09/2019) and Romania (08/09/2019).

In October, Malta host Sweden on the 12th before travelling to the Faroe Islands with the match scheduled to take place on the 15th.

Malta will wrap up their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with an away match against group favourites Spain on November 15 followed by the concuding qualifier at home to Norway on November 18.

MALTA’S EURO 2020 MATCH SCHEDULE (GROUP F)

23/03/2019 (18:00) – Malta vs Faroe Islands

26/03/2019 (20:45) – Malta vs Spain

07/06/2019 (20:45) – Sweden vs Malta

10/06/2019 (20:45) – Malta vs Romania

05/09/2019 (20:45) – Norway vs Malta

08/09/2019 (18:00) – Romania vs Malta

12/10/2019 (20:45) – Malta vs Sweden

15/10/2019 (20:45) – Faroe Islands vs Malta

15/11/2019 (20:45) – Spain vs Malta

18/11/2019 (20:45) – Malta vs Norway

Here below all the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying groups:

Group A: England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo

Group B: Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg

Group C: Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus

Group D: Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar

Group E: Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan

Group F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta

Group G: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, FYR Macedonia, Latvia

Group H: France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra

Group I: Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino

Group J: Italy, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein





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