Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
Ta’Qali National Stadium will host Wednesday’s qualifier between Malta and Cyprus, the two teams who aim to climb the standings. Malta aim to put an end to their three-game winless run, but they face a difficult task in the midweek game. Devis Mangia’s troops failed to impress in friendlies against Northern Ireland (0-3) and Kosovo (1-2) as well, and it is no wonder the bookies see them as underdogs in the clash against Cyprus.
The Cypriotes did well to beat Slovenia in their third group game, and they are surely capable of beating Malta, who have slim chances of booking their place at the 2022 World Cup finals. Ludogorets attacker PIeros Sotirious, who found the net in the Champions League qualifier against Malmo, will be the man to watch in the away team. In their last meeting in a competitive match, back in June, 2003 Cyprus defeated Malta 2-1.
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 (Cyprus):
Cyprus’ first match took place back in July, 1949, only one year after they became a member of FIFA. The Cypriotes played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Maccabi Tel Aviv and seven days later they played their first international game. Cyprus suffered a 3-1 loss to Israel in Tel Aviv back then and in November, 1960 they had their first official match as an independent country.
The Cyprus national football team shared the spoils with Israel in the 1962 World Cup qualifier and three years later they recorded their first international win (3-1 over Greece). Cyprus suffered their biggest loss on May 21, 1969, with the team losing to West Germany 12-0 and in 2000 they hammered Andorra 5-0 which is considered the team’s biggest win.
The Cypriotes have yet to qualify for the finals of the FIFA World Cup or the European Championship, but their victory over Bosnia in Zenica in the Euro 2016 qualifiers will be remembered. GSP Stadium in Nicosia is considered the national team’s home ground.