Malta Football Association
Our players always go out to get positive result – Vella
Jun 6, 2018
Posted in:
U/21 Qualifiers
Malta U-21 coach Silvio Vella.
Malta U-21 coach Silvio Vella.

  • Malta U-21 coach Silvio Vella.

Malta U-21 coach Silvio Vella knows that his team face a tough task in their UEFA Under-21 home qualifier against Sweden on Thursday but insisted that his players always go out to get a positive result, regardless of the opposition.

The Malta U-21s will be pursuing their first points in Group 6 when they meet Sweden at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off 17.30) but theirs is a difficult mission as the Scandinavians are chasing top spot and automatic qualification to the 2019 Euro Under-21 finals.


“We always go out to try and obtain a positive result,” Vella told the pre-match news conference on Wednesday.


“We are facing very strong teams... Sweden are challenging for top spot in the group along with Belgium. The race for first place is between them.


“After Sweden, we meet Belgium in the next home qualifier (on September 7) and that tells you everything about the strength of this group. That said, we try to adopt the best plan for our team to cope with such opponents and our players always go out to give their 100 per cent.”


While Malta’s gameplan is based on good tactical organisation and being compact, Vella insisted that his team strive to be constructive when in possession.


“Our aim is to be compact but when we get the ball, we try to get out of our defensive shell and push forward,” Vella said.


“We have shown that we can score goals even when the chips are down. Against Turkey, we were 4-1 down but we didn’t give up and managed to get another goal.”


Malta have not had much luck in this qualifying campaign, suffering last-gasp defeats to Cyprus and Hungary last year, while an own goal proved their undoing in the 1-0 home loss to Turkey back in November.


Vella hopes that Malta’s luck will change in their remaining four home qualifiers, starting with Thursday’s game against Sweden.


“We have been unlucky in this group, especially the opening matches,” Vella said.


“In the first match against Belgium, we were 2-0 down but pulled one back for 2-1 and then had a goal disallowed in the closing stages.


“There were also two games (Cyprus and Hungary) where we lost in added time. However, there have been many positives. We have lost but our performances in many games have been good.


“And these players are being rewarded for their efforts as they are being called up to the senior squad. Our aim is to produce players who are ready for the national team.”


Indeed, six players in Vella’s 18-man squad for the Sweden qualifier have just returned from a training camp with the senior squad in Austria.


All played a part in the friendly matches against Armenia (1-1) and Georgia (0-1) with Jake Grech, Joseph Mbong, Jurgen Degbariele and Dunstan Vella making their debut while Myles Beerman and Kyrian Nwoko, who had already been capped, were also involved in both games.


Missing from the Malta U-21 squad are Matthew Guillaumier, Kurt Zammit, Aidan Friggieri and Conor Borg, all injured.


The referee is Peter Kjaesgaard-Andersen, from Denmark.


Entrance for the match is free.



Belgium 17 points; Sweden 14; Hungary 11; Turkey 8; Cyprus 6; Malta 0.


Official Sponsors
Commercial Partners