England vs Malta
England’s penultimate Euro 2024 qualifier brings Mediterranean minnows Malta to Wembley Stadium.
Coming from behind to beat fierce continental rivals Italy 3-1 in their last Euro qualifier confirmed England’s qualification for next summer’s tournament with two games to spare, firing them three points clear of second-placed Ukraine at Group C’s summit. Gareth Southgate’s men have executed another near-perfect qualifying campaign (W5, D1) en route to a fourth consecutive Euros qualification. A 4-0 demolition of Malta in the reverse fixture in June could be a glimpse into the future, with the ‘Three Lions’ making it six H2H wins in a row. Anything other than another thumping victory would be a surprise, especially considering the beaten Euro 2020 finalists have won all 13 Euro qualifiers at Wembley since September 2011, with ten of those triumphs coming ‘to nil.’
England’s dominant record at their iconic stadium paints a bleak picture for Group C whipping boys Malta, who, after losing all seven Euro 2024 qualifiers, head into this fixture desperate to avoid another humiliation. Damage limitation will be at the forefront of manager Michele Marcolini’s mind after his side lost their last three outings in Group C via multi-goal margins, including a 3-1 home defeat to Ukraine in their most recent such contest. But that loss witnessed the ‘Knights of Malta’ break the deadlock before rolling over, which doesn’t change the fact they’ll pursue only their second-ever goal against England in their seventh H2H. But whether that’s a realistic target remains open for debate, especially after they’ve failed to get on the scoresheet on their last two Group C travels (L2).