ENGLAND will be hoping to extend their current six-point lead at the top of Group C ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifier against Malta TONIGHT.
The Three Lions are favourites to win the group after their 2-0 win over Ukraine at Wembley in March.
The third match of ten in the group is looking to be an easy win for England before facing North Macedonia three days after.
Malta are currently sat at the bottom of Group C after being unable to secure a win in the Euro 2024 qualifiers so far.
But he could have European-trophy winning pedigree in the form of Declan Rice, who captained West Ham to a Europa Conference League triumph last week.
Southgate still has plenty of talent at his disposal and he could hand a debut to Crystal Palace star Eberechi Eze.
His club team-mate Marc Guehi could also get a chance to shine in John Stones’ absence, while Tyrone Mings will hope to make a good impression on his return to the squad.
A win for England will see them sitting pretty at the top of the group as Italy do not play another qualifier until September due to the Nations League.
What is their form like?
England are unbeaten since their World Cup disappointment to France, with the win over Italy in Rome in March still fresh in the memory.
They also breezed past Ukraine comfortably at Wembley, while Malta have won five of their last ten games.
However, their victories came against fellow minnows Luxembourg, San Marino, Azerbaijan and Kuwait.
Midfielder Jude Bellingham has been ruled OUT due to ongoing knee injury, but has continued his rehabilitation at St George’s Park.
Lewis Dunk has also been forced to pull out of the squad altogether due to “injury issues”.
Who are the star men?
Without Grealish and Foden England will be reliant on Saka for creativity.
Marcus Rashford also offers a goal threat from out wide – but Eze could be the key man.
The Three Lions will look to a player of his ingenuity to break down Malta, while Kane is always a reliable finisher.
What have the managers said?
Southgate spoke about the quick turnaround from the Premier League’s conclusion and explained why he picked Eze.
He said: “We’ve got important qualification matches on the road to Germany so we’ve picked the strongest squad as we can and we’re looking forward to working with the players. And I think the players always enjoy coming back together.
“So there’s always a lot of noise around this time of year but the reality is, everybody’s got the same situation and I think we’ll manage it as well as we can.
“We’ve liked him [Eze] for a long time, he was very unfortunate just before the Euros because we were going to call him into a prep camp to have a look at him and he got a bad injury – the day we were going to, I remember talking to Roy Hodgson about him then and Roy telling me he’d picked up an injury in training that day.
“He has finished the season really strongly, he can play in a couple of positions across that attacking line, he’s a goal threat, he’s got nice ability and burst of speed to go past people and to take people out of the game with dribbling skills.
“So we’re looking forward to seeing him a bit closer and everybody I speak to talks brilliantly about him as a person as well.”
Malta boss Michele Marcolini is pleased with the state of his squad.
He told the Times of Malta: “I am very happy with the training camp I had with my players during the past few weeks.
“We are now in a very particular period where the players returned to the training just two weeks after the end of the national championship.
“We couldn’t put a lot of pressure on the players as we are aware that they are physically and mentally very tired. But at the same time, we had the chance to carry out some work to try and prepare in the best possible way for the upcoming qualifiers against England and Ukraine.
“I gave a lot of importance to both the physical and tactical aspects and I am very satisfied by the application shown by my players during this period.”
It will be interesting to see how England perform after a long and arduous season.
A few weeks without playing could mean some are a bit rusty too but we predict a comfortable 4-0 win.
When is Malta vs England?
- Malta vs England will take place on Friday, 16th June.
- Kick off will be at 7.45pm BST.
- The match will take place at Malta’s National Ta’Qali Stadium.
What channel is Malta vs England on?
- Malta vs England will be broadcast for free live on Channel 4.
- Coverage will begin at 7pm BST.
- Channel 4 is a free channel available to all.
Can it be Live streamed?
- Account holders can live stream the match on any device with the free Channel 4 app or website.
- The Channel 4 app is free to download onto your mobile or tablet device.
- Alternatively, you can follow SunSport’s live blog to keep up to date with all the action.
- Malta 45/1
- Draw 12/1
- England 1/22
*Odds courtesy of Ladbrokes and are correct at the time of publication.