Malta to face Italy on March 26
Malta’s away match against Bulgaria on March 22 will be followed four days later by a much awaited battle against Italy with both European Group B matches valid for the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil.
After three defeats late last year, 1-0 at home against Armenia, 2-0 and 3-1 away against Italy and the Czech Republic respectively these will be the fourth and fifth outings in this preliminary group. For the Maltese followers of the game the forthcoming clash against footballing giants Italy will pale the previous outing against Bulgaria, more so given the match will be played on home soil.
With Italy commanding almost fanatical support from several Maltese, a home match against the Italians is an encounter which captivates the local football fraternity. The only peer in this regard is when Malta comes up against England.
The last match between Italy and Malta, played in Italy in September 2012, was highly-satisfactory for the Maltese team which only succumbed courtesy of two goals vitiated by an offside and a handling infringement. The same qualities were also in evidence in the other away match against the Czech Republic and to a lesser extent in the group opener at home against Armenia, two matches which were lost 3-1 and 1-0 respectively.
On March 26, Italy will be hostsed in a big match at the National Stadium, Ta’ Qali. The backing expected for the Maltese team may constitute the proverbial twelfth man given that the locals muster their tactical knowhow and draw on their combative spirit and maximum physical abilities.
The Malta Football Association in a combined effort with National Team Sponsors FXDD and CISK is working on an initiative which will lead to the eventual organisation of a Fan Park on the day of the Malta vs Italy match.
The concept of this initiative is intended to organise a Fan Gathering in the vicinities of the Stadium rather than fans being involved in minor gatherings in various parts of Malta. The event will include activities and entertainment for young and old, opportunities for fans, sponsors and business partners to engage with each other. It will also be the chance for fans to acquire Nat. Team and sponsors’ merchandise as well as participate in live links on the proceedings within and around the stadium.
Another initiative will be the Best Dressed Fan/s competition which will be combined with the Fan Park initiative and the match itself with the objective to get as many local fans as possible to attend for the game wearing the national colours and support the Malta team.
Fans can participate by sending photos taken during the Fan Park or inside or around the stadium on the day of the match via the MFA’s Portal.