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Watch: 20 years of Malta women milestones leading to Nations League promotion

Maltese team made their international debut back in August 2003.

On Tuesday night, the Malta women’s team wrote a new chapter in the history of national football after moving up a division in the newly-launched UEFA Women’s Nations League.

The comeback win over Latvia, which was Malta’s 130th international match, that sealed the deal was the culmination of 20 years of rapid improvements that witnessed the growth of the Maltese team from a minnow nation to a respectable one on the international stage in women’s football.

Read ‘Two decades of steady progress for the Malta women’s national team’.

While the celebrations of Tuesday are still fresh in our minds, we bring you all the milestones that paved the way to the Nations League success:

AUGUST 10, 2003:

(MATCH 1) – International debut – UEFA Women’s Euro 2005 qualifications.
Romania 3-0 Malta.

The Maltese squad back in their 2003 match against Romania. Photo: MFA Women’s Football

Players used: Tonina Dimech; Tessie Agius, Eleonara Agliano, Maria Azzopardi, Catherine Camilleri, Sarah Jane Caruana, Rebecca D’Agostino, Marisa Deguara, Leslie Galea, Natasha Pace, Alexandra Sammut, Dorianne Theuma, Dionne Tonna, Joanne Vella.

Captain: Rebecca D’Agostino (first captain, 57 caps – 4 goals).

Coach: Pierre Brincat.

NOVEMBER 16, 2003

(MATCH 5) – First international goal – UEFA Women’s Euro 2005 qualifications
Malta 1-4 Croatia
Sarah Caruana.

Video: Sarah Caruana

JUNE 7, 2006

(MATCH 14) – First international point – 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifications.
Malta 1-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina
Dorianne Theuma.

Dionne Tonna, nowadays Malta women’s national team assistant coach, in action during the 2006 game against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Photo: MFA Women’s Football

JUNE 29, 2006

(MATCH 22) – First international win – UEFA Women’s Mini Tournament.
Estonia 0-1 Malta
Ylenia Carabott.

The Maltese team celebrating after beating Estonia back in 2008. Photo: MFA Women’s Football

APRIL 9, 2013

(MATCHES 46-48) – Preliminary round winners, advance to proper qualifications – 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifications.

Dorianne Theuma.

MALTA 6-0 LUXEMBOURG (record win)
Scorers: Nicole Buttigieg x2, Dorianne Theuma Ylenia Carabott, Rachel Cuschieri.

Malta’s starting formation against Luxembourg as they set a new record win for the women’s side. Photo: MFA Women’s Football

Rachel Cuschieri, Dorianne Theuma.

All smiles for Malta scenes after progressing from the preliminary round in 2013. Photo: MFA Women’s Football

NOVEMBER 26, 2020

(MATCH 105) – Haley Bugeja becomes Malta’s first-ever hat-trick scorer in competitive games and youngest hat-trick scorer in European qualifiers – UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 qualifications.

DECEMBER 1, 2020

(MATCH 106) – Record of points (10) in Euro qualifications and Dorianne Theuma becoming first women player to make 100 appearances – UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 qualifications.

Moreover, the strong showings in these qualifications earned Malta the Malta Sports Journalists Team of the Year award while climbing to 85th position in the FIFA rankings – the best position attained in three years.

Dorianne Theuma became the first Maltese women player to collect 100 caps and joined a list that includes some of the best male players including Gilbert Agius and Michael Mifsud. Photo: Joe Borg


(MATCH 120) – Record of points (7) in a World Cup qualification campaign – 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifications.

DECEMBER 5, 2023

(MATCH 130) – Record crowd for a Malta women’s team game (1, 008) – 2023/2024 UEFA Women’s Nations League

Tuesday’s crowd beat the previous record of 764 people that had attended Malta’s home game against Italy back in 2019. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

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