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Oct 8, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
MaltaMalta
0-4
SloveniaSlovenia

Mbong (66'), Satariano (88')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Ilicic (27', 60'), Sporar (49'), Sesko (67')

Preview: Malta vs. Slovenia - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Malta vs. Slovenia - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying clash between Malta and Slovenia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Slovenia will be aiming to keep their slim hopes of World Cup qualification alive when they travel to Malta on Friday.

Matjaz Kek's side are fourth in Group H with seven points from six games, while their hosts are fifth with four points.


Match preview

Both of Slovenia's previous two World Cup appearances in 2002 and 2010 came courtesy of the playoffs and that is the route they are targeting again.

The Balkan nation are currently six points behind second-place Russia with four games remaining and host Valeri Karpin's team on Monday.

It means that victory in Malta is crucial, but they have lost all three away games in this qualifying campaign so far.

A 3-0 defeat to Croatia in their last game was Slovenia's heaviest defeat under Kek, who has the best win percentage of any manager in the country's history with 12 victories from 26 matches since being appointed in 2018.

One of their two wins in qualifying so far came against Malta in September, as Sandi Lovric's penalty on the stroke of halftime proved decisive in a 1-0 victory.



Malta have never beaten Slovenia in seven previous meetings (losing six) and have only won three of their 108 matches in World Cup qualifying history.

However, one of those came last month as they beat Cyprus 3-0, which was their first victory on home turf in a World Cup qualifier.

Furthermore, their tally of six goals from six matches is already their joint-best record in a World Cup qualifying campaign, with the return game against Cyprus to come on Monday.

Devis Mangia's side do have the worst defence in the group though, having conceded 11 goals, and have lost six of their last eight matches.

Malta World Cup Qualifying form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Malta form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Slovenia World Cup Qualifying form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Slovenia form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

St Johnstone defender James Brown has been called up to the Malta squad for the first time, but is a doubt for Friday's game due to a hamstring strain.

Winger Jurgen Degabriele is back available again after missing September's matches through injury, but Ryan Camenzuli is suspended.

Andrei Agius, Ferdinando Apap and Bjorn Kristensen have all been omitted from the squad for a breach of the team's code of ethics.

Miha Zajc requested to be left out of the Slovenia squad, with the midfielder not yet fully fit after returning from injury.

18-year-old Benjamin Sesko has seven goals already this season for Red Bull Salzburg, but he is still looking for his first for the national team.

Matjaz Kek has included three uncapped players in his squad, including former Derby County and Swindon Town midfielder Timi Elsnik.

Malta possible starting lineup:
Bonello; Muscat, Borg, Shaw; Attard, Pisani, Teuma, Degabriele; J. Mbong, Montebello, P. Mbong

Slovenia possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Stojanovic, Bijol, Mevlja, Balkovec; Kurtic, Gnezda Cerin, Lovric; Ilicic, Sesko, Mlakar


We say: Malta 0-2 Slovenia

Defeat to Croatia aside, Slovenia have looked more solid in this qualifying campaign and will see this as a must-win game. We think that this extra motivation will help them emerge victorious, but it will not be a walkover at Ta' Qali.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea75111531216
2Liverpool74301761115
3Manchester CityMan City74211431114
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd7421146814
5Everton7421138514
6Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton742185314
7Brentford7331106412
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs7403610-412
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham73221410411
10Aston Villa7313109110
11Arsenal7313510-510
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves730456-19
13Leicester CityLeicester7223912-38
14Crystal Palace7142811-37
15Watford7214710-37
16Leeds UnitedLeeds7133714-76
17Southampton7043510-54
18Burnley7034511-63
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle7034816-83
20Norwich CityNorwich7016216-141
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