Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
Following a goalless draw with Cyprus, Slovakia play host to Malta in their second group game. The Slovaks failed to impress in the opening match of their World Cup qualifying campaign, but they will not have a better chance than this to record their first win of the process. Even though experienced midfielder Marek Hamsik is out of contention through injury, we are tempted to put our money on the hosts.
Malta experienced all sorts of problems at the back in a 3-1 loss to Russia, and seeing that Slovakia do not suit the minnows, we do not believe that Devis Mangia’s troops are capable of spoiling Slovakia’s party at Tehelne pole. In their last meeting in a competitive match Slovakia outplayed Malta 3-0. In Hamsik’s absence, a man to watch in the away team will be Bundesliga ace Ondrej Duda.
Highlighted Player (Stanislav Lobotka):
Born in Trencin on November 25, 1994, Stanislav Lobotka is a Slovakia international who plays for Celta Vigo in La Liga. Lobotka began his youth career at his hometown club AAC Sparta Trencin and he made his senior debut for fellow local club Trencin. In 2013 he signed a loan deal with Dutch side Ajax, but he played for Jong Ajax during the 2013/2014 season.
In the summer of 2014, the Slovakian midfielder returned to Trencin, where he made 74 appearances in the league in total. In 2015 Stanislav Lobotka joined Danish side Nordsjaelland shortly before the transfer window closed. Lobotka made his debut in the Danish top flight against Brondby on August 30, 2015.
Two years later he decided to make a step forward in his career, signing a five-year contract with La Liga side Celta Vigo. Speaking of his international career, the Celta Vigo midfielder made his Slovakia debut against Austria in November2016. It has to be noted that Lobotka became the first Slovak to score at Wembley, finding the net in a 2018 World Cup qualifier against England.
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.