The Malta national team will be in Pot 6 for the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying draw which will be held in Zurich on December 7.
Devis Mangia’s men have been confirmed as one of the teams in the lowest-ranked pot for the qualifying ceremony that will be held during a virtual event in the Swiss city early next month.
The national team moved up four places in this month’s FIFA world rankings and is now 176th in the world. But still that was not enough to earn a place in Pot 5. In fact, FIFA confirmed that the team are one of five countries in Pot 6 alongside Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and San Marino.
Being in Pot 6, it means that the national team is set to be drawn in a group that will feature six teams and cannot face Belgium, Italy, Spain and France.
This means, that Malta could be drawn against one from England, Portugal, Croatia, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Pot 2 is formed by Switzerland, Wales, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia and Switzerland.
In next month’s draw, Malta could be reunited with either the Faroe Islands, Latvia and Andorra who they met in the UEFA Nations League qualifiers that have just come to an end this month.
In fact, the Faroes have been promoted to Pot 5 after topping the League D Group 1, just ahead of Malta.
Against the Faroes, Malta lost the first match in Torshavn 3-2 before being held to a 1-1 draw in the group decider at the National Stadium earlier this month.
A clash against the Latvians could bring back fond memories for the team as after ending their first meeting at the National Stadium in a 1-1 draw, Mangia’s men travelled to Riga where they managed to eke out a 1-0, courtesy of a Steve Borg’s last-gasp goal.
Malta also enjoyed a lot of success against Andorra as after a goalless stalemate in La Vella in October, the national team came from a goal behind to record an impressive 3-1 win at the National Stadium.
The other teams in Pot 5 are Armenia, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kazakhstan and Lithuania.
POT 1: Belgium, France, England, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands.
Pot 2: Switzerland, Wales, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia, Romania.
Pot 3: Russia, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Greece, Finland
Pot 4: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Israel, Belarus, Georgia and Luxembourg
Pot 5: Armenia, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Andorra.
Pot 6: Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and San Marino.