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Struggling Malta seek Croatia scalp

Published: Sunday 31 July 2011, 1.00CET
One of four teams yet to pick up a point, Malta will look to finally get off the mark in Group F as they play host to a Croatia side pushing hard for a finals place.
Struggling Malta seek Croatia scalp
Malta captain Michael Mifsud ©Domenic Aquilina

Tournament statistics

MaltaCroatia

Goals scored4
 
21
Total attempts102
 
189
Attempts on target27
 
84
Attempts off target41
 
78
Attempts blocked0
 
0
Attempts against woodwork2
 
1
Corners30
 
86
Offsides21
 
12
Yellow cards19
 
23
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed130
 
157
Fouls suffered135
 
174
 
Published: Sunday 31 July 2011, 1.00CET

Struggling Malta seek Croatia scalp

One of four teams yet to pick up a point, Malta will look to finally get off the mark in Group F as they play host to a Croatia side pushing hard for a finals place.

Group F stragglers Malta will look to finally get off the mark in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying as they host a Croatia side lying second in the section and pushing hard for a place in the finals.

• Malta are one of four teams yet to pick up a point in qualifying along with Andorra, San Marino and Wales. They are also yet to score a home goal.

• Croatia, by contrast, are a point adrift of section leaders Greece, who visit third-ranked Israel in one of the day's other Group F ties.

• Croatia were comfortable 3-0 winners when the teams met Malta in Zagreb on 17 November. Two first-half strikes from Niko Kranjčar and a late third from substitute Nikola Kalinić gave the hosts three points on a rain-sodden pitch at the Stadion Maksimir.

• Before that game, coach Slaven Bilić said: "Anything but victory would be a failure. Croatia fans don't just want wins but stylish football too, no matter who we are up against. We have raised the bar very high and we have to maintain that standard we set ourselves."

• Malta's record in five meetings with Croatia reads W0 D1 L4 (W0 D1 L1 at home).

• Croatia's last visit to Ta'Qali for a FIFA World Cup qualifier in September 2005 was not one they would care to remember. Having won the home fixture 3-0, Croatia were 1-0 up after 19 minutes, Kranjčar scoring for a side coached by his father Zlatko. However, Stephen Wellman crashed home a free-kick to level on 74 minutes, with Mario Tokić's dismissal completing a frustrating night for the Balkan side.

• When the teams first met in UEFA EURO 2000 qualifying, current Malta coach John Buttigieg was in the home side that took a 1-0 lead in Ta'Qali on 10 October 1998 but went on to lose 4-1. Croatia won the return fixture 2-1 in Zagreb.

Last updated: 03/08/11 18.26CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1515656.html#malta+look+lift

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