Estonia suffered a 5-0 hammering against Argentina in their last fixture after they were undone by Lionel Messi’s brilliance.
Malta and Estonia will be hoping to build on their winning start at the UEFA Nations League when they face each other on Thursday. The two teams started the campaign with separate victories over San Marino in League D2. Their scorelines were also identical, as both sides won their openers against San Marino 2-0. Heading into Thursday’s game, Estonia have the advantage in terms of the FIFA rankings. Estonia are placed 110th, while Malta are quite down at 169th spot. On paper, the visitors will be the favourites, but the hosts will try to make the most of their home advantage.
Despite their ranking, Malta have so far enjoyed a fruitful 2022. Out of the four games they played this year, only one they lost and it was against Venezuela in a friendly. They won their remaining three games, including the Nations League opening fixture against San Marino. This is a lot better record compared to their form in 2021. San Marino are one of the lowest-ranked teams in all of Europe, hence a victory against them might not tell the whole story. Nonetheless, starting the tournament with a positive result is a big plus for Thursday’s hosts.
Meanwhile, Estonia’s run of form in recent months have been dismal. They have won only one of the four games played this year and it was against San Marino. The run of games also involved a two-legged Nations Leagye playouts, which they lost against Cyprus. Moreover, Estonia’s 5-0 hammering by Argentina in their last fixture would still be fresh for the players. In that match, they were undone by Lionel Messi’s brilliance after the Paris Saint-German striker scored all five goals. The game on Thursday will be difficult to call, with both teams having a chance at registering an unlikely win.
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There is not much in the way of injuries and suspensions, hence allowing both sides to name the best possible starting line-up. Malta will most likely be led by defender Steve Borg. Jean Borg and Enrico Pepe might complete the back three. Jan Busuttil scored for them in the last match against San Marino after coming from the bench. It will be interesting to see if he can break it into the Starting XI on Thursday. On the other hand, Estonia will be led by midfielder Konstantin Vassiljev. Like their opposition, the visitors are also expected to start with a back three and the attack will most likely be led by Robert Kirss.
Malta possible line-up: Bonello, S Borg, Pepe, J Borg, Overend, Mbong, Guillaumier, Paiber, Degabriele, Satariano, Busuttil
Estonia possible line-up: Hein, Kuusk, Tamm, Mets, Zenjov, Kreida, Kait, Vassiljev, Sinyavskiy, Sorga, Kirss
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The UEFA Nations League match between Malta vs Estonia will take place at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium on Thursday, 12:15 am IST.
Select UEFA Nations League 2022-23 matches will be telecast live on the Sony TEN network in India. Besides, live streaming of these matches will be available on SonyLIV and JioTV apps and OTT platforms in India.
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