The official website for European football

Malta's hard road in women's qualifying

Published: Tuesday 11 February 2014, 8.09CET
Malta's progress from the preliminary round earned them a prime ministerial invitation, but coach Pierre Brincat admits life at the top level is tough for them as they face Serbia.
by Martyn Hindley
Malta's hard road in women's qualifying
Malta's Antoinette Sammut (left) in action against Denmark ©Domenic Aquilina
Published: Tuesday 11 February 2014, 8.09CET

Malta's hard road in women's qualifying

Malta's progress from the preliminary round earned them a prime ministerial invitation, but coach Pierre Brincat admits life at the top level is tough for them as they face Serbia.

Malta's first-ever top-class competitive female international did not go well: they were thrashed 13-0 at home by Spain in a FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier in September 2009.

They would lose all eight games in their group and were eliminated in the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 preliminary round. But their 2015 World Cup bid got off to a better start in last April's preliminaries as they drew 1-1 with Albania before beating Luxembourg 6-0 and Latvia 2-0 to reach qualifying proper – where so far they have fallen 2-0 in Israel and 5-0 at home to European semi-finalists Denmark. On Thursday they continue their Group 3 campaign at home to Serbia and coach Pierre Brincat spoke to UEFA.com.

UEFA.com: What effect will getting through the preliminary round have in terms of girls and women playing football in Malta?

Pierre Brincat: Our qualification was perfect  it got us publicity, we visited the Prime Minister in parliament with the girls, it was brilliant. However, our players have to take time off to come and play, myself included, so to play ten games that's an average of 30–35 days' leave. So all our leave is going just into football, completely into football. It's quite a big burden.

UEFA.com: What did you take from the qualifiers against Israel and Denmark?

Brincat: Israel are a good team, a very good team, but we had chances even in that game. So with a bit more experience I think we will be quite close in these games.

Denmark are a great squad. The first experience we had in [2011] World Cup qualifying was against Spain, losing 13-0 at home, and that was a big shock even for me as coach. But with the match against Denmark, the players were better prepared and I thought they were more focused. Although we lost, and lost 5-0, it was a respectable result.

I think we are moving closer. The players are getting more accustomed to these games and gaining more experience. I always tell them: this is the best experience you can have, you are playing against the best players in the world, so get the experience and enjoy it. Because, when you finish football, you can say: I played against Denmark, I played against England. These games are very important. I had the same experience as a player.

UEFA.com: You play Serbia on Thursday ...

Brincat: Serbia are a good technical team, we have to be careful. They drew 1-1 with Denmark, having lost heavily [9-0] to Switzerland. I was very surprised by that scoreline against Switzerland; but then they got a good result against the Danes.

Last updated: 11/02/14 12.08CET

Related information

Coach profiles
Member associations
Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/womensworldcup/news/newsid=2050856.html#maltas+hard+road+womens+qualifying

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.