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Izzo names final Malta squad for European Championships finals

Malta national team coach Karl Izzo has included four young players in his squad for the upcoming European Championships that will get under way on Monday in Split, Croatia.

Izzo had originally named a 20-man squad which had been training together for the past few days at the National Pool with a view of finally selecting his final 14 players that will represent Malta in Croatia.

Izzo is forced to do without four key players for the championship as Jordan Camilleri has pulled out due to family reasons, Jake Muscat is recovering from knee surgery while Stevie Camilleri turned down the call-up as he opted to take some rest after a gruelling season and Jerome Gabaretta also turned down the chance to be part of the squad for personal reasons.

The Malta coach has named a squad that bodes blend of youth and experience in their fourth successive participation at the European Championship finals.

Matthew Zammit leads the selection as the team captain and is joined by Ben Plumpton, Jeremy Abela, Andreas Galea, Nicholas Bugelli, Dino Zammit and Jake Tanti who all enjoy experience of playing in the continental finals.

For Bugelli, his inclusion in the squad marks a return to the continental finals after he had represented the national team on their first participation in Belgrade six years ago.

On the other hand, Izzo has injected some young talent in his squad as he included Jamie Gambin, Sam Gialanze, Benjamin Cachia and Liam Galea.

“I believe that we are heading to the European Championship finals with the strongest team possible in the current circumstances,” Izzo told the Times of Malta.

“In my opinion the players selected are the ones who are showing the best form and are capable of doing a good job at the championships. Obviously, it was not easy for me to choose the 14 layers from the initial list of 20 players but as national coach you need to take difficult decisions.”

Neptunes goalkeeper Alan Borg Cole pulled out of the squad due to personal reasons just after Izzo named his provisional squad.

Matthew Mifsud, Alec Fenech, Jerome Zerafa Gregory and Matthew Sciberras are the other players who failed to make the cut.

Malta were drawn to face Croatia, Greece and France in the championships that get under way on Monday.

The Squad

J. Tanti (San Ġiljan), S. Gialanze (Neptunes), A. Galea (San Ġiljan), James Gambin (Sliema)Darren Zammit (San Ġiljan), Matthew Zammit (San Ġiljan), B. Plumpton (San Ġiljan), N. Bugelli (Sliema), J. Abela (Neptunes), N. Zammit (San Ġiljan), B. Cachia (Sliema), D. Zammit (Sliema), N. Grixti (Sliema), L. Galea (Sliema)

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