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Women’s Football

Denmark too strong for Malta in World Cup qualifying opener

The Malta women's national team as they lined up in Viborg. Photo: fodboldbilleder.dk

DENMARK              7        

Troelsgaard 15; Bruun 23, 48

Larsen 26; Harder 47; Sevecke 78

Thrige 89

MALTA                     0

DENMARK

K. Larsen; R. Sevecke, S. Ballisanger, K. Veje, N. Sorense (61 J. Thomsen), S. Troelsgaard (61 S. Pedersen), K. Kuhl, S. Svava (61 Sarah Thrige), P. Harder (73 M. Gejl), S. Bruun, S. Larsen.

MALTA

J. Xuereb; J. Flask (46 Gabriella Zahra), C. Zammit, S. Farrugia, N. Sciberras (90 Kayleigh Chetcuti), S. Zammit, E. Lipman, A. Sultana (89 Ann-Marie Said), D. Theuma, B. Borg (46 Rachel Cuscheri), M. Farrugia.

Referee Karolina Wacker (Germany FA).

Yellow cards S. Zammit, Zahra.

The Malta women’s national team found the going very tough in their opening 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier as they went down heavily to 15th ranked Denmark, in Viborg.

Denmark are looking to qualify for their first Women’s World Cup since 2007 and they will be one of the teams that will featuring in next summer’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.

The Danes squad included Chelsea’s Pernille Harder, Everton’s Rikke Sevecke and Nicoline Sorensen and Signe Bruun of Lyon.

On the other hand, Malta (ranked 93), were facing Denmark for the fifth time in their international history as they launched their qualification campaign.

Denmark made their intentions clear from the initial stages as they had an early shot on goal through Katherine Kuhl which was diverted into corner.

From the resultant set-piece, Rikki Sevecke attempted a close-range effort only to be denied by Janice Xuereb.

Moments later, Malta defender Stephania Farrugia came to the rescue as she threw her body on the goal line to deny Signe Bruun.

The Danes managed to forge ahead on 15 minutes when Sanne Troelsgaard headed home from close in.

Malta tried to stage a reaction with Maria Farrugia darting into the box, but her effort was halted by the Denmark defenders.

Harder came close to double her team’s lead just to see her effort blocked into the corner. From the resultant flag-kick Bruun headed past Xuereb.

The third goal came from another header, this time through Stine Larsen as the Danes extended their lead.

Despite going three goals down, the Maltese remained organised and compact, blocking Denmark’s passing channels and trying to catch their opponents on the break.

In the closing stages of the first half, Xuereb denied Bruun before the latter had an effort that sailed over the bar.

The Birkirkara goalkeeper was forced into action again to prevent Sevecke from finding a fourth just before the half-time whistle.

At the restart, Denmark quickly found a fourth goal through Harder who with her goal has now become the all-time top scorer for her country’s selection, with 66 goals.

Denmark added a fifth swiftly when Bruun capitalised from a right-hand side cross to net her second of the game.

Troelsgaard had a shot blocked by Xuereb as the Maltese kept their fighting spirit on the field despite the five-goal deficit.

As the half wore on, Denmark had other efforts through Harder and Sarah Thrige but were all in vain.

Alishia Sultana almost stunned the Danes when she pounced on a short kick by the Danish goalkeeper just to see her effort go wide.

Xuereb denied Veje after the latter fired a low strike from inside the penalty area.

Denmark made it 6-0 through Sevecke who capitalised from a corner-kick situation.

Late in the game, Sarah Thrige scored Denmark’s seventh to wrap up the victory.

Malta will return to action next Tuesday, when they host Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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