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Malta coach Gatt names squad for opening Women’s Euro qualifiers

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Malta women’s coach Mark Gatt has selected a squad of 20 players for the opening UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 qualifying matches away to Denmark and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Maltese team will open their Group B qualifying campaign with a tough appointment against Denmark on Thursday, August 29 at the Viborg Stadium.

Five days later, on September 3, they face Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Asim Ferhatovic Hase Stadium, in Sarajevo.

The other teams in Group B are Italy, Israel and Georgia.

Five foreign-based players were selected in the squad by Gatt, namely Motherwell goalkeeper Anna Vincenti, Nicole Sciberras, who recently joined the youth squad of Italian club Juventus, PSV Vrouwen midfielder Rachel Cuschieri, and forwards Martina Borg, currently on the books of Sassari Torres, and Maria Farrugia of Sunderland.

Gatt will not have the chance to bank on last year’s domestic women’s league top scorer Haley Bugeja, as the Mġarr United forward will become eligible for the competition at the turn of next year due to age rules.

“Our aim for the opening two qualifiers against Denmark and Bosnia is to produce a solid performance,” Gatt told the Malta Football Association website.

“Looking beyond the results, these matches will surely be a useful experience for our players, one that should help them raise their level.

“We are in a very difficult group that includes two very strong teams – Italy, who reached the quarter-finals of this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, and Women’s Euro 2017 finalists Denmark.

“It’s going to be an onerous challenge for us to compete at this level but we are approaching this competition with enthusiasm and a determination to do well and gain as many points as possible.”

The members of the Malta women’s squad have been training regularly for the past two months in preparation for their commitments in the Women’s Euro 2021 qualifying campaign.

Earlier this year, the Malta women’s team took part in the Aphrodite Cup in Cyprus, finishing second, and also had a training camp in Romania as part of their build-up for the upcoming Euro competition.

After the away double header against Denmark and Bosnia, the Maltese girls will host Italy in their first home outing on October 4.

Squad

Goalkeepers:
Janice Xuereb (Birkirkara); Rachel Borg (Mġarr United); Anna Vincenti (Motherwell, Scotland).

Defenders:
Stephania Farrugia, Ann-Marie Said, Alishia Sultana (all Birkirkara); Nicole Sciberras (Juventus, Italy); Jasmine Vella Turner (Mġarr United); Charlene Zammit (Swieqi United).

Midfielders:
Brenda Borg, Claudette Xuereb (Mġarr United); Rachel Cuschieri (PSV Vrouwen, Netherlands); Jade Flask (Swieqi United), Dorianne Theuma (Hibernians), Emma Xuereb, Shona Zammit (both Swieqi United); Veronique Mifsud (Birkirkara).

Forwards:
Martina Borg (Sassari Torres, Italy); Maria Farrugia (Sunderland, England); Ylenia Carabott (Birkirkara).

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