Malta’s historic EURO 2024 journey starts Thursday

Malta are due to play North Macedonia on Thursday for the opening game of the EURO 2024 qualifiers, before hosting Italy at the National Stadium three days later

Malta are due to play North Macedonia on Thursday for the opening game of the EURO 2024 qualifiers, before hosting Italy at the National Stadium three days later.

The EURO 2024 qualifiers look to be historic for Malta, as it is set to face football powerhouses Italy and England, while also coming up against Ukraine.

Last week, Malta head coach Michele Marcolini announced the 24-man squad which is set to represent the country against North Macedonia and Italy.

Notable additions to the squad are Gżira’s Luke Tabone who was called up for the first time and Yannick Yankam who had not formed part of the national team in the recent months.

Tabone has been a reliable figure for the Gzira team, with the defender replacing Birkirkara defender Enrico Pepe who failed to recover his full fitness and was omitted from the squad along with Valletta’s Triston Caruana.

Yankam returns to the squad having been left out of the national team in their most recent qualifiers against Greece and Ireland last November.

Marcolini also included all four players who are currently based outside the country, with James Brown, of St Johnstone, Farense defender Zach Muscat, Royal Union St Gilloise’s midfielder Teddy Teuma, and striker Jodi Jones who is on the books of Notts County.

Teddy Teuma’s selection comes after the midfielder netted for his Brussels-based club in the round of 16 stage of the Europa League against Bundesliga team Union Berlin. Teuma will also face Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the quarter finals, making him the first Maltese national to play at that stage of the competition.

He also scored from the spot against Mechelen last Sunday in the Belgian Pro League, helping Union Saint-Gilloise retaining their charge for first-place and a Champions League spot.

Marcolini will be looking to the midfield maverick with the hope of controlling the middle of the pitch. He is having an excellent season in terms of goal returns, netting eight in the league, and three in Europa League.


While Malta play North Macedonia in the first match of the international break, the matchup against the Azzuri is the most anticipated match.

The dominant force prior to and during the delayed Euro 2020 campaign, Italy once again came up short in their bid to appear at the World Cup Finals - losing to North Macedonia in the playoff semi-final to watch on from home for the second time running - and Argentina barely broke a sweat in a 3-0 Finalissima win over Mancini’s crop last year.

Already witnessing a couple of players depart the camp injured, Italy have lost attacker Federico Chiesa, left-back Federico Dimarco and goalkeeper Ivan Provedel, the latter two of whom have been replaced by Emerson Palmieri and Marco Carnesecchi.

Carnesecchi is one of four uncapped players to have been called up by Mancini for March’s fixtures, with Wladimiro Falcone, Alessandro Buongiorno and Argentina-born striker Mateo Retegui also seeking to make their maiden appearances for the Azzurri.

With no Ciro Immobile or Giacomo Raspadori in the ranks due to injury, Retegui could very well be thrown into the deep end for his first start this week, as Mancini faces a toss-up between a 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 setup.

North Macedonia will host Malta at the Tose Proeski Arena on Thursday at 8:45pm.

Malta hosts Italy at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium on Sunday at 8:45pm.

Malta squad

Goalkeepers: Henry Bonello (Ħamrun Spartans), Cain Formosa (Valletta), Matthew Grech (Sirens).

Defenders: Ferdinando Apap (Hibernians), Luke Tabone (Gżira United), Steve Borg (Ħamrun Spartans), Karl Micallef (Gudja United), James Brown (St. Johnston), Zach Muscat (Farense).

Midfielders: Juan Corbalan (Ħamrun Spartans), Ryan Camenzuli (Ħamrun Spartans), Matthew Guillaumier (Ħamrun Spartans), Cain Attard (Birkirkara), Nikolai Muscat (Gżira United), Bjorn Kristensen (Hibernians), Brandon Paiber (Valletta), Yannick Yankam (Birkirkara), Teddy Teuma (R.U. Saint Gilloise), Joseph Mbong (Ħamrun Spartans FC).

Forwards: Shaun Dimech (Valletta), Jodi Felice Jones (Notts Country), Kyrian Nwoko (Santa Lucia), Paul Mbong (Birkirkara), Alexander Satariano (Balzan).