Preview: Malta vs. Slovakia

Preview: Malta vs. Slovakia

Slovakia end their World Cup qualifying campaign against Malta on Sunday afternoon looking for the victory which would secure third position in Group H.

Meanwhile, Malta need a win to guarantee fifth position ahead of Cyprus, something which may help their cause ahead of future qualification draws.

Before the start of this campaign, Slovakia would have been delighted with just two defeats in nine matches with Croatia and Russia present in their group.

However, the top two seeds have not been the issue, with four of Slovakia’s five draws coming against opposition that they needed to beat to stand a chance of qualification.

That has ultimately left Stefan Tarkovic’s side nine points adrift of second spot with a game remaining, leaving Slovakia to focus their efforts on trying to claim third spot ahead of Slovenia.

If Thursday’s match against the same opponents is anything to go by, they appear to be motivated with the Falcons twice coming from behind to secure a 2-2 draw.

To their credit, Slovakia’s only two defeats in this group have come by 1-0 scorelines to Russia and Croatia, and they will feel that third position is the least that they deserve for their performances.

Despite sitting six points clear of their next opponents, there will be no complacency within the Slovakia ranks after failing to overcome Malta in March.

Malta were arguably the more frustrated after that contest, the minnows storming into a 2-0 lead after 19 minutes before being pegged back in the second half.

On a more positive note, they have enjoyed the best qualification campaign in their history, matching the five points that they collected ahead of Euro 2008 but playing fewer games this time around.

Although a point would not necessarily be celebrated at the weekend, Devis Mangia knows that avoiding defeat would help their quest to move up the qualifying-draw pots in the future.

Malta World Cup Qualifying – Europe form:
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Slovakia World Cup Qualifying – Europe form:
DLWLDD

We say: Malta 1-4 Slovakia
Despite their performance in the reverse fixture, we cannot see Malta producing a similar level of result. With that in mind, expect Slovakia to run away with this one, cruising to victory to end their campaign on a high note.

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