A brave Malta lost their VisitMalta match against Sweden 3-0 at the Hibernians Stadium on Tuesday.
A deflection, an own goal and a penalty giving Sweden a second win in the tournament.
A wicked deflection gave Sweden the lead after twenty minutes but Malta did not cave in. They fought back and although unable to launch a serious threat kept Sweden at bay.
An own goal after the break was just reward for constant Swedish pressure but it was a blow for a Maltese side who were refusing to be swamped by the highly ranked Swedes.
Sweden got their third in the 78th minute when Nathalie Bjorn scored from the penalty spot and in the closing minutes a flurry of chances fell Sweden’s way but Malta kept them at bay.
Number five in FIFA Women’s ranking, Sweden, semi-finalists in 2019 Women’s World Cup, were always going to be a daunting challenge for Malta but the score-line is testimony to a well organised Malta.
Any loss can be hard to take but Malta can take plenty of encouragement from this performance. They showed determination and courage and refused to be swept aside by Sweden. With a number of players out injured, this tournament should provide a platform on which Malta can build ahead of the 2023 World Cup.
Photo: Domenic Aquilina