The Malta U-21 national team will play their final fixture of the season when they face North Macedonia in an international friendly in Skopje on Tuesday (kick-off: 6pm).
The match is being played a year after the team’s last competitive fixture against Spain in Melilla and will serve as preparation ahead of the new qualifying campaign that gets under way in September.
Malta’s opponents in the upcoming competition are Spain, Belgium, Scotland, Hungary and Kazakhstan.
Tuesday’s match brings to an end a hectic period for the Malta U-21 youngsters who were involved in a training camp during the past six weeks and coach Francesco Macri will be keen to see some tactical improvement from his players against the North Macedonians.
“We had really long time with the players, they worked tirelessly, myself and the rest of the coaching staff also noticed significant improvement both in terms of attitude and work-ethic by the players in their commitment to improving, as always the end of the season brings up some fatigue, but overall we’re pleased with the resilience and desire by the players over this training camp,” he said.
“This has also been a fruitful experience for myself, and the rest of my staff, Jonathan (Holland), Charles (Sciberras), and Karl (Attard), we thank the Association for this opportunity and look forward to the 90 minutes on Tuesday.”
Macri has heaped praise on North Macedonia and said that they are likely to be formidable opponents for Malta.
“North Macedonia are a very strong side, we’ve followed them on videos, and we understand they are a tough nut to crack,” he said.
“They also possess formidable individuals in their playing staff, with few foreign-based also amongst their ranks, plying their trade in Portugal, Slovakia, while they also have a key member of this North Macedonian team playing an important role with the first team of Dinamo Kyiv”.
Asked on what he expects from his players, Nacri said: “We want to perform at the best of our abilities, as always ball possession and tactical discipline are fundamental to stand a chance of a positive result in the 90 minutes on Tuesday, barring other aspects of the game.
“We’re aware we will face a side with plenty of physical ability, but we are positive in a solid performance and then we see the result.”
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