• Analysis

Match Preview: Malta vs Spain

Spain v Norway - UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier
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Spain travel to Malta for their second game of the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying campaign.

Sergio Ramos scored a 71-minute penalty to secure a winning start of the EURO 2020 qualifying campaign for the former European champions.

The Red Fury now travel to Valletta, as they face Malta for the first time since 1997. The hosts kicked off their qualifying campaign with a victory as well, winning 2-1 against the Faroe Islands on Saturday.

Team news

Malta’s most experienced defender Andrei Agius was sent off against the Faroe Islands and will miss the game against Spain through suspension.

Zach Muscat will come in as the centre-back’s replacement but elsewhere Ray Farrugia’s team may remain unchanged.

Saul could be back for Spain, as the Atletico Madrid midfielder didn’t play against Norway on Saturday night.

Luis Enrique doesn’t have any fresh injury concerns as The Red Fury visit Malta tomorrow night.

What did the managers say

Malta head coach Ray Farrugia was emotional after the victory over the Faroe Islands and he thanked the home crowd for the success.

“I have no words to thank the players for their amazing effort today,” Farrugia said via Malta’s official website.

“Their performance was excellent. I’m also grateful to our supporters who stayed behind the team throughout the match.”

Luis Enrique said he won’t make any changes in the tactics, as it not the right time for tests and experiments.

“There is no rush or haste,” he said at a press conference on Friday night when was asked about his first-choice starting line-up.

“I would like to have a starting XI and some fixed players, but it’ll be a long process. Now is not the time for tests of experiments, as we have two official matches ahead of us.

“We’ll keep trying things, but we need to win. I have chosen the 23 players who I have seen in the best form. I’m going to stick with the same system, the 4-3-3.”

He also remembered Spain’s historic 12-1 victory over Malta in 1983 saying: “I was at home, in my living room. I was only 13 years old back then, but you could hear me screaming through the windows of my house on Avenida de Portugal street in Madrid.”

Stats

Both sides have met six times in history, with Spain winning every single time they faced Malta.

Malta’s 2-1 victory over the Faroe Islands on Saturday was their first win in a competitive game since June 2013.

Spain recorded one of their largest ever victories crashing Malta 12-1 in a EURO qualifying game back in 1983.

The Red Fury have lost only one game away from home since June 2016. They’ve won the European championship three times in history: in 1964, 2008 and 2011.

Malta have conceded 28 goals in their games against the Spanish national football team – that’s an average of 4,66 per game.