Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
Russia will be looking to make a flying start to their World Cup qualifying campaign when they take on Malta at Ta’Qali National Stadium. The Russians aim to recover from an embarrassing 5-0 loss to Serbia in the Nations League, and we are positive that they will leave their hearts on the field. Valencia winger Denis Cheryshev has been left out of the squad, and, in his absence, a man to watch in the away team will be Zenit attacker Artem Dzyuba, who has netted 13 goals in the Russian Premier League so far this season.
Malta were producing fine displays in 2020, with the team beating both Latvia and Andorra in the UEFA Nations League, but they will have a mountain to climb against Russia. It has to be noted that this will be the first ever encounter between the two teams in a competitive match.
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 (Russia):
While they won the 1960 European Championship, while losing in the final in 1964, 1972 and 1988 as Soviet Union, Russia have enjoyed little success since starting to compete as an independent country in 1992.
Their best result up to date is the third-placed finish at the Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, while the team failed to get past the group stage at the World Cup finals in three attempts. However, with Russian Premier League getting stronger by the day, the national team have started to improve as well, and they now finally seem capable of matching the world’s top sides.
The new generation includes high-quality footballers such as Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Kokorin, Artyom Dzyuba and Oleg Shatov, while the likes of Igor Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevich, Roman Shirokov and Yuri Zhirkov are nearing the closing stages of their careers. But, with plenty of exciting talent coming through the ranks, future definitely looks bright for the Russia national team.