Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Malta U19 and U17 coaches preparing for 2019 tests
Dec 24, 2018
Posted in:
General
U19 - Qualifiers
U19 - Friendlies
U17 - UEFA European Under 17 Qualifiers
U17 - Friendlies

2019 will be another busy year for our national teams at all levels.

 

Apart from the senior side’s participation in the Euro 2020 Group F qualifying campaign and the Under-21s’ involvement in Group 8 of the 2021 UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying round, the Malta U-19 and U-17 teams also have European commitments to look forward to.
 


Led by coach Winston Muscat, the Malta U-19 team have been drawn against Italy, Slovakia and Cyprus in Group 6 of the 2019/2020 UEFA Under-19 Championship qualifying round. The tournament will be played in Italy between November 13 and 19.

 

The U-17 team, under the guidance of coach Noel Turner, will face Austria, Norway and Bulgaria in Group 13 of the 2019/2020 UEFA Under-17 Championship. Norway will host the tournament in October 2019.

 

Buoyed by his team’s performances in the last UEFA U-19 Mini-Tournament, where Malta placed third on four points, only one behind runners-up Belgium, Muscat is looking forward to next year’s tournament.

 

“2019 will be another important year for our boys and, as we did for the last tournament, we will be doing everything in our capacity to make sure that we prepare well as we can for the next UEFA competition,” Muscat told www.mfa.com.mt.

 

“We had some unforgettable moments in the last tournament, losing narrowly to giants France, holding Belgium to a 1-1 draw, and showing resilience to come back from a goal down and beat Lithuania 2-1 in our last match.”

 

Another stern challenge awaits the Malta Under-19 side in next year’s tournament but the experience of facing the likes of France and Belgium in the last tournament should stand Muscat and his team in good stead.

 

“Although on paper, the group doesn’t look as tough as the previous one, it is still a very difficult one,” Muscat said.

 

“We are aware of Italy’s strength, Slovakia possess skilful players and Cyprus can be compared to Lithuania.”

 

As part of their preparations for November’s tournament, in January the Malta U-19 side will play two friendly matches against the U-19 team of Scottish club St Mirren who are coming to Malta for a training camp.

 

In February, Muscat are expected to play a friendly against Austria ahead of their participation in the annual Roma Caput Mundi tournament in Italy.

 

FAMILIAR OPPONENTS


Meanwhile, the Malta Under-17 team will face some familiar opponents in their qualifying tournament after being drawn against Austria and Bulgaria who were also in our group in this year’s competition. The other team in group 13 are hosts Norway.

 

“We have a good idea of Austria and Bulgaria as we played against them in this year’s tournament in Slovenia,” Noel Turner, the Malta Under-17 coach said.

 

“With regards to Norway, we know that it’s always hard for us when facing Nordic teams.”

 

In the recent UEFA Under-17 Goup 3 tournament, held last October, Malta went down heavily to Austria (0-7) but showed improvement when facing Bulgaria, losing 3-1.

 

“We are looking to kick off our preparations early as possible to be ready for the challenges ahead,” Turner said.

 

“I’m optimistic that, with the quality coming through and the squad we have, we can give a good account of ourselves in next year’s UEFA commitments.”

 

Prior to the UEFA qualifying tournament in 10 months’ time, the Malta Under-17 side will take part in a UEFA Youth Development Tournament in March. The other teams in the group are Scotland, Hungary, and Albania.

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