Malta will be at home against the reigning European champions Italy in their next game in the European Championships qualifiers. The two face off in Group C and hope to rise from the bottom slots after suffering opening losses. Malta lost 2-1 away to North Macedonia and will hope they can break their poor run against Italy to bag their first points of the campaign. They’ve faced Italy eight times before and lost all; in the last four matches against Italy, Malta didn’t score at all. They don’t have a very good run defensively coming into this game, and this is an area they must improve, to get anything from this game. In the last five matches they have no clean sheet, conceding twice in three of the five matches. They’ve failed to score in one of the five matches and twice in the last four, they’ve scored two goals. One win only in their last five matches will not inspire a lot of confidence going into this game but 10 straight losses in Euro qualifiers makes it worse.
Italy made the headlines after Match Day 1 of the qualifiers after losing at home to England in a repeat of the Euro 2020 final. The loss was the first in 41 Euro qualifiers for Italy and they will need to step up here to stay in the race. While Italy can still qualify for the playoffs, having finished top of their UEFA Nations League group, they will want to qualify outright from this group. That calls for a fine run starting with this game. They have six straight away wins in this competition and remain unbeaten in 20; in the last five, they scored two or more in each and kept three clean sheets.
Italy are definitely the favorites in this game and they will want to also boost their goal difference after their opening loss to England. They face a team that has lost all the last 10 matches in this competition and though they play away, we expect them to dominate. Our prediction for the Malta v Italy match is for the away side to lead in both halves.