Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Tough Italy opener awaits Maltese girls
Oct 23, 2017
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General
Women's U17 Qualifiers

The Malta Under-17 team kick off their 2018 UEFA Women’s U-17 European championship qualifiers this morning against group favourites Italy (kick-off: 11.30am).


Apart from Italy, Frank Schembri’s selection will face Finland (Thursday: 11.30am) and hosts Slovenia (Sunday: 3.00pm) in Group 11.  

 

The Maltese girls will be aiming to replicate their success last year when, in their maiden qualification campaign, they earned a victory against Montenegro in their final group game.

 

Schembri has named the following starting formation for today’s match against Italy:

 

Sarah Zarb, Chloe Ann Ellul, Valentina Rapa, Nicole Sciberras, Jasmine Grech Celeste, Maia Melanie Debono, Maria Farrugia, Amy Busuttil, Samantha Zarb, Jessica Lee Dimech, Demi Magrin.

 

 
MALTA’S OPPONENTS

 

ITALY
The Italians are tipped as favourites to clinch a berth in the final tournament as group winners. They have several quality players who are making a name for themselves in women’s football in Italy. Yet, Le Azzurre have never won the European title at this level with their best ever result coming in the 2014 edition when they finished third. Italy are now under the guidance of Massimo Migliorini who replaced Rita Guarino earlier this year after the latter was appointed coach of Juventus Women.

 

FINLAND
Finland are also expected to join Italy in the finals as they have also made significant progress in women’s football. In the previous qualifying campaign, they missed out on a place in the finals despite finishing level on points with eventual qualifiers Portugal and Italy. One of their most dangerous players is midfielder Emelie Smirnoff who plays for AIK Fotboll Dam in Sweden.

 


SLOVENIA
Hosts Slovenia complete the Group 11 line-up. The level of women’s football in Slovenia has also improved as they have undertaken new projects which are already producing positive results. Pomurje’s domestic dominance has been ended by Olimpija Ljubljana, highlighting the quality of players Slovenia is nurturing. Like Finland, they also did well in their previous campaign but were eliminated in the elite round despite leaving a good impression.

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