Malta’s 2-2 draw away against Slovakia yesterday may have been one of the best results the national football team has achieved in recent years, but some players were left disappointed that they didn’t walk away with a victory.
In his post-match comments, coach Devis Mangia hailed the team’s spirit and attitude throughout the 90 minutes, as well as the winning mentality displayed by some players after the game.
“I’m satisfied because I saw some players who were disappointed at the end of the game, and this is a very big step for me,” he said.
Malta led 2-0 in the first half, with goals scored by Luke Gambin and Alexander Satariano, but conceded two goals in the first ten minutes of the second half.
However, a 2-2 draw in a World Cup qualifier against a team ranked 34th by FIFA is no joke for Malta, and many people took to social media to voice their appreciation.
Prime Minister Robert Abela said he was proud of the unity and determination displayed by the team, while Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said adversaries will start showing Malta more respect.
Brave performance by #Malta ends in positive 2-2 draw against #Slovakia, after commanding first half 2-0 lead. Proud of unity and determination by #TeamMalta 🇲🇹 in this #WCQ away from home. Notable progress being achieved – RA pic.twitter.com/0HBQ4RWn1Q
— Robert Abela (@RobertAbela_MT) March 27, 2021
MFA president Bjorn Vassallo paid a personal visit to the team after their performance, offering a few motivational words.
“When you work for the Maltese badge on the front of your shirt, everyone will remember the name on the back of your shirt,” he said. “You’re making a name for yourselves and your country, thank you.”
Malta will now travel to Croatia to face the 2018 World Cup finalists on Tuesday; it will be a tough ask but as they showed against Slovakia, everything is possible.