Tuesday, March 26, 2013

26 March 2008 - The Mighty Minnows Of Malta

On 26 March 2008, Malta secured their record win, beating Liechtenstein 7-1 with 5 goals from Michael Mifsud.

Ever since their first match, a 2-3 loss to Austria in 1957, Malta struggled to find wins, failing to qualify for a single World Cup or European Championship. Losses were easy to come by, however, including crushing defeats to Spain (12-1 in 1983), Austria (9-0 in 1977), the Netherlands (8-0 in 1990), and Germany (7-0) in 2004).

They had met Liechtenstein only once before, playing to a 1-1 home draw in 1981. So, even though their matches starting getting more competitive in the 2000s, their dominating performance in the 2008 friendly came as a surprise.

Playing at the Ta' Qali national Stadium in the center of Malta, Mifsud (pictured)--a striker who played his club ball for Coventry City--scored the opening goal in the second minute with a penalty. He completed a hat-trick within the first 21 minutes, with his third goal also coming from the spot--the foul prompting the second penalty kick led to a red card for Liechtenstein's Fabio d'Elia for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. Helped by the man advantage, Malta were up 4-0 by the break.

Franz Burgmeier closed the gap to 4-1 in the 51st minute, but Mifsud scored twice more (60', 69') to extend the lead. It was the first time any Maltese player scored five times in an international. A final Malta goal four minutes from time ended the day at 7-1.

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