Our prediction for this match:
Malta and Northern Ireland take on each other in a friendly at Worthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt. Malta have collected only one point in total in the World Cup qualifiers to date, but it seems as if their performances are much better than the results. The Maltese aim to put an end to their four-game winless run, but beating Northern Ireland on neutral location is easier said than done.
The Green and White Army, on the other hand, missed out on a place at the European Championship finals, and they have yet to record a win in the WC qualifiers. Northern Ireland are desperate to return to winning ways, and we do not believe that they will have a better chance than this to get back on course. You should bear in mind that under 2.5 goals have been netted in each of the previous four meetings between the two national teams in all competitions.
Highlighted Player (André Schembri):
Andre Schembri is a Malta international who was born in Floriana on May 27, 1986. Schembri started his youth career at his hometown club Floriana, but he played for fellow Maltese side Hibernians at the start of his senior career. The experienced attacker scored ten goals in 44 appearances for the club before joining Marsaxlokk in 2005. After spending four seasons at the club he moved to Austria Karnten in 2009 and it has to be noted that he played on loan for the likes of Eintracht Braunschweig and Calr Zeiss Jena during his spell with Marsaxlokk.
Andre Schembri did not spend too much time in Austria as he moved to Hungary in the winter of 2010, signing a deal with Ferencvaros. The Maltese striker played for the likes of Panionios, Omonia, FSV Frankfurt, Omonia and Boavista before joining Apollon Limassol in June 2017. Andre Schembri signed a two-year deal with the Cypriot side and he quickly started paying off.
You should bear in mind that the Malta international scored four goals in the 2017/2018 Europa League qualifiers and, no doubt, he helped the Cypriot side book their place in the group stages of the European competition.
Highlighted Team (Northern Ireland):
Competing first under the Irish flag and then as an independent entity, Northern Ireland are one of world’s oldest national teams, but they haven’t enjoyed too much success in history. Led by Danny Blanchflower, the Irish impressed at their first ever World Cup finals appearance, reaching the quarter-finals in 1958, but they have since only played at the 1982 and 1986 tournaments, reaching round 2 and crashing out in the group stage respectively.
Northern Ireland had failed to qualify for 13 successive European Championship finals before finally booking their ticket to the Euro 2016 in France, and the fans hope this success will only be a sign of things to come. Without a doubt, George Best is the most famous footballer to have ever put on the green shirt, scoring 9 goals in 37 appearances, but he couldn’t help the national team close the gap behind Europe’s top sides.
Some of the other high-profile footballers include Pat Jennings, Aaron Hughes, David Healy, Keith Gillespie, Steven Davies and Gareth McAuley.