Our prediction for this Euro 2024 match:
David faces Goliath at Stadio San Nicola as Italy and Malta go head to head in the Euro 2024 qualifier on Satuday evening. The Azzurri recorded a very important 2-1 win over Ukraine in September, but they face yet another must-win situation against the Maltese. Tottenham left-back Destiny Udogie has received his first call-up, while Ciro Immobile and Mateo Retegui have been omitted.
Malta, on the other hand, are stuck at the bottom of Group C with no points in their pockets. Considering that the rock-bottom side have netted only one goal in the process, anything but a routine home win would be a big surprise. To make things even more difficult for the visiting team, experienced defender Steve Borg is banned for the match. When the two teams met at Ta’Qali National Stadium earlier in the process, Italy defeated Malta 2-0, which is yet another reason why home win should be considered.
Highlighted Player (Domenico Berardi):
Once one of the most promising young players in Serie A, Domenico Berardi is the Italian footballer that plays for Sassuolo and the Italy national team. Born in Cairati, Calabria, the forward begun his professional career back in 2012, when he helped the Neroverdi win Serie B and play in Serie A next season and was named as the best player of the competition, only 18 years of age.
He made his first appearance for the Italy U19 national team in the same season. His excellent performances draw the attention of Juventus and the Old Lady confirmed in the beginning of the Season 2013/14 that Domenico Berardi joined the club on a co-ownership deal.
The player never played for Juventus because he remained in Sassuolo and he recently signed a new contract with the Neroverdi. The 24-year-old right winger, who can also play as a left winger and a second striker, made his first appearance in the senior national team in June 2018.
Highlighted Team (Malta):
Back in 1957 Malta played their first international match. The Falcons faced Austria in their debut on the international stage and they suffered a 3-2 loss to Das Team in front of home fans in Gzira. The Malta Football Association joined FIFA in 1959, while joining UEFA the following year and they have been competing in the qualifiers for the major tournaments since 1962.
The Knights of Malta have yet to participate at the finals of the showpiece tournaments, but they often claim major scalps in the qualifying matches. Malta recorded their biggest win (7-1) against Liechtenstein on March 26, 2008, but a win over Hungary in the Euro 2008 qualifiers is considered their biggest achievement.
Speaking of friendly games, it has to be noted that Malta did remarkably well to beat star-studded Ukraine in Graz on June 6, 2017, with Zach Muscat scoring the winner for the minnows. In December 1983 the Maltese suffered their heaviest loss as they were crushed by Spain 12-1 in Seville.