Haley Bugeja is eager to see Malta in action in League B of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2025 qualifiers as she believes her team has what it takes to be a competitive side.
Being one of the teams in League B means the Maltese side is now among the best 32 UEFA member associations and therefore the challenge will be even more difficult come the qualifications opener in April.
The complete picture of the teams forming the 16-team League B will be ready once the promotion and relegation play-off games are played in February.
However, there are already eight teams confirmed in League B including the four relegated from League A which are Scotland (FIFA ranking 23), Portugal (rank 19), Wales (29) and Switzerland (21).
Malta, ranked 86th but expected to move up after this successful tournament, will be rubbing shoulders with some of Europe’s best teams while vying for a potential play-off spot for the Euro 2025 competition.
In fact, the four group winners and the two-best ranked runners-up in League B will face the remaining two second-place finishers and four third-placed teams in League B with the six winners progressing to the next round.
Here, the teams will be drawn into seven ties, with the seven winners progressing to the final tournament which will be held in Switzerland.
“We know what is expecting us in League B, but we are looking forward to the challenge,” Bugeja explained.
“We have been in the position of underdogs for a long time and we are now learning to thrive in that role.
“The most important thing is to keep improving and earning the respect of other countries.”
Bugeja has been one of the most crucial players in Malta’s cause during this League C journey.
The eight goals scored by the Malta forward saw her finish second in the scoring charts across all four Leagues, just one shy from Israel’s Sharon Beck who scored a hat-trick on her team’s final game against Estonia.
Currently on the books of Inter, whom she joined during the summer transfer window, Bugeja sits third as Malta women’s best scorer with 18 goals in 25 appearances.
Nonetheless, she lauded her team-mates for stepping up and carrying this team to the next level in this tournament.
“This League B promotion means the world to us,” Bugeja said.
“I have to thank everyone, including the supporters who have backed us throughout this journey.”
Bugeja, who also played for Sassuolo and Orlando Pride, said that this result should inspire the future generation.
Indeed, such success should be seen as the perfect sliding door for the Malta FA to invest more in the women’s game as the national teams continue to record positive results in every category.
On the two-decade anniversary of Malta’s international debut, this success was the perfect way to commemorate the pioneers who paved the way for such an unprecedented feat.
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