[WATCH] Hodgson 'delighted' to play against Malta

England manager expresses delight at drawing Malta in 2018 World Cup qualifiers

Roy Hodgson manager of England speaks to the media after the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace
Roy Hodgson manager of England speaks to the media after the Preliminary Draw of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia at The Konstantin Palace

Malta will have a tough task in Group F as they take on England, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia and Lithuania.

The big match for the Maltese football fans will obviously be when the English team visits our island to take on Malta.

England manager Roy Hodgson was very happy that England will be playing Malta. Hodgson also mentioned that England has a very strong fan base in Malta and added that team coach Gary Neville will be delighted since he has a house on the island.

Watch the entire interview HERE

Teams were put into seven groups of six teams and two groups of five teams, with each team playing each other home and away between 4 September 2016 and 10 October 2017.

The nine group winners advance directly to the final tournament while the eight runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups proceed to play-offs to decide the remaining four European berths.

Malta has played England on three different occasions. Malta was defeated 1-0 at the Gzira Stadium in February 1971 and suffered another 5-0 defeat at Wembley Stadium in May 1971. The last time Malta met England was at Ta’ Qali stadium were they lost 2-1 in June 2000.

Gary Neville also showed his delight on his Twitter account posting "England drawn Malta in 2018 WCQ. Brilliant."

Malta and Slovakia have played each other six times; four friendly matches and two World Cup qualifier matches. In the four friendly matches Malta was defeated 2-1 (1994), 3-0 (2006) and 1-0 (2014). Malta managed to hold Slovakia to a 1-1 draw in 1994. In the other two occasions, Malta had to face Slovakia in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers. They were defeated 6-0 in 1996 and then at Ta’ Qali they were defeated 2-0.

Scotland and Malta have met on five occasions. During the 1994 world Cup qualifiers Malta was defeated by Scotland 3-0 and 2-0. In friendly matches, Malta was defeated by Scotland 2-1 (1998) and 3-2 (1997). In 1998 Malta managed to play to a 1-1 draw.

Malta and Slovenia have played against each four times, including two encounters in the Rothmans Tournament in which Malta lost 1-0 in 1994 and played to a 0-0 draw in 1996. During the 2004 European qualifiers, Malta was defeated 3-0 away and 3-1 at Ta’ Qali.

Malta will be playing against Lithuania for the first time in a competitive competition, but they have met on three different occasions during friendly matches. Malta defeated Lithuania 2-0 last June, while the two sides played to a 1-1 draw in the Rothmans Tournament. In the last encounter between the two sides, Malta was defeated 4-1 in 2006.

Group A: Netherlands, France, Sweden, Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg

Group B: Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra

Group C: Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan, San Marino

Group D: Wales, Austria, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Moldova, Georgia

Group E: Romania, Denmark, Poland, Montenegro, Armenia, Kazakhstan

Group F: England, Slovakia, Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Malta

Group G: Spain, Italy, Albania, Israel, FYR Macedonia, Liechtenstein

Group H: Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Estonia, Cyprus

Group I: Croatia, Iceland, Ukraine, Turkey, Finland

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