Malta faces cold wind of the East in tough World Cup qualifier group

Malta drawn in the tough Group H alongside Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia and Cyprus

Malta's players during a training session. (Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA)
Malta's players during a training session. (Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA)

Malta has been dealt a tough hand in its 2022 World Cup qualifiers as the national team will face Russia, Slovakia and Croatia in their opening three fixtures from Group H.

Malta were drawn in the strong Group H alongside Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia and Cyprus.

Teams are split into ten groups of five or six (the four teams who reached the 2021 UEFA Nations League finals – Belgium, France, Italy, Spain – will be in the smaller groups). The ten group winners qualify for the World Cup.

The ten group runners-up are joined by the two best group winners of the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking that have neither qualified directly for the final tournament as European Qualifiers group winners, nor entered the play-offs already as European Qualifiers group runners-up. The 12 teams will be drawn into three play-off paths for one-off semi-finals and a final. The three path winners qualify for the World Cup.

Key dates

Matchday 1: 24–25 March 2021
Matchday 2: 27–28 March 2021
Matchday 3: 30–31 March 2021
Matchday 4: 1–2 September 2021
Matchday 5: 4–5 September 2021
Matchday 6: 7–8 September 2021
Matchday 7: 8–9 October 2021
Matchday 8: 11–12 October 2021
Matchday 9: 11–13 November 2021
Matchday 10: 14–16 November 2021

Play-offs: 24, 25, 28, 29 March 2022

World Cup: 21 November–18 December 2022

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