Malta Football Association
Malta difficult for everybody to play against – Southgate
Sep 1, 2017
Posted in:
National Team
England manager Gareth Southgate. Photo: Joe Borg/MFA
England manager Gareth Southgate. Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

England are widely fancied to pick the three points from their 2018 World Cup qualifier against bottom side Malta at the National Stadium but manager Gareth Southgate is not taking the Group F minnows lightly.

“They were, as they have been throughout this qualifying campaign, really well organised,” he said of Malta.


“There is only the Scotland game that they have been heavily beaten and that was due to the sending-off (of defender Jonathan Caruana) which was unfortunate. 

“So we know they also beat Ukraine in a friendly recently. They are improving, they can use the ball well and they have been difficult for everybody to play against.”


The England squad's arrival on Thursday evening was delayed by around 40 minutes.

With a potentially crucial qualifier against Slovakia next for England after their match against Malta tonight, Southgate knows that his team must take maximum points if they are to all but book their place in next year’s World Cup in Russia.


“Definitely,” said Southgate when asked if the game against Malta has become almost crucial for England.


“If we win both of the matches in September then we are in a really strong position to win the group. We are virtually there so you can’t say one of those games is more important than the other.


“Malta is the first one and we have to win it.”


England are top of Group F with 14 points, two more than Slovakia and three ahead of Slovenia with four qualifiers remaining.


 Read the full interview with the England manager in the Matchday Programme

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