Malta coach Ray Farrugia has named a provisional squad of 26 players ahead of the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Sweden and Romania.
After kicking off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with an uplifting 2-1 victory over Faroe Islands and a resilient performance in a 2-0 home defeat to Spain in March, Malta travel to Sweden for their next Group F qualifier on June 7 before hosting Romania at the National Stadium three days later.
“We’ve had a positive start to the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign but we need to keep moving forward,” Farrugia said.
“We have two very difficult matches coming up, starting with Sweden away and then Romania at home.
“Both Sweden and Romania are strong teams who have high hopes of challenging for qualification to next year’s European championship.
“We must prepare as best as we can for these challenging tests.”
Farrugia is relying on most of the players who were part of the squad for the opening qualifiers but there are also some new faces with Ħamrun Spartans midfielder Triston Caruana getting the nod and Mosta’s Dexter Xuereb earning his first call-up.
Balzan striker Alfred Effiong, who scored four goals in the FA Trophy final last Saturday, Crawley Town winger Luke Gambin, Sliema Wanderers midfielder Ryan Fenech and defender Ferdinando Apap, of Gozo champions Victoria Hotspurs, are back in the frame.
Birkirkara midfielder Matthew Guillaumier and Ħamrun Spartans defender Karl Micallef are sidelined with injuries along with Hibernians striker Jurgen Degabriele and Sliema Wanderers forward Jean Paul Farrugia.
Malta's next opponents have had mixed results in their first two Group F qualifiers.
Sweden have four points after opening their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 over Romania and a 3-3 draw against Norway.
Romania have three points. the same as Malta, after beating Faroe Islands 4-1 at home in their second qualifier.
Henry Bonello (Valletta); Justin Haber (Gżira United); Andrew Hogg (Birkirkara).
Andrei Agius (Hibernians); Ferdinando Apap (Victoria Hotspurs); Steve Borg (Valletta); Jonathan Caruana (Valletta); Joseph Mbong (Hibernians); Zach Muscat (SC Olhanense, Portugal); Dexter Xuereb (Mosta); Joseph Zerafa (Valletta).
Triston Caruana (Ħamrun Spartans); Juan Corbalan (Gżira United); Paul Fenech (Balzan); Ryan Fenech (Sliema Wanderers); Luke Gambin (Crawley Town, England); Jake Grech (Hibernians); Bjorn Kristensen (Hibernians); John Mintoff (Sliema Wanderers); Rowen Muscat (Valletta); Dunstan Vella (Hibernians).
Alfred Effiong (Balzan); Leighton Grech (Senglea Athletic); Michael Mifsud (Birkirkara); Luke Montebello (Birkirkara); Kyrian Nwoko (Valletta).