Malta Under 16 national team coach Anthony Farrugia has heaped praise on his players’ application ahead of today’s Last 16 tie against Turkey that could put the team among the top eight sides at the World Championships in Volos, Greece.
The Maltese youngsters have so far enjoyed a fairytale start to their first participation in these championships when they stunned the more-quoted United States side 10-7 in Sunday’s opener before they sealed top spot in the group with a 13-3 hammering of Kazakhstan on Monday.
Farrugia said that he has been impressed by his team’s play, particularly in defence, which has been the hallmark of the success enjoyed so far.
“This result means so much for these players as we have to remember that we are playing in a prestigious tournament which is the world championship,” Farrugia said.
“Topping the group is a great achievement for us. The final scoreline against Kazakhstan might suggest that it was an easy game for us. But I would like to highlight our defensive game that was impeccable today and put us on the way to victory. In fact once we raced to a four-goal there was no way back for Kazakhstan.
“These players are playing their heart our for the Maltese team and that is very important.”
Next up for the Maltese youngsters is a clash against Turkey who yesterday sealed second spot in the group when they saw off South Africa 14-3.
“It’s going to be another difficult match for us,” Farrugia said.
“Turkey are a good team and who were only beaten by Hungary by just two goals so it’s going to be a great test for us.
“It’s important that we keep our feet rooted to the ground and believe in our qualities. It all depends on who will perform better on the day, but I have great belief in my players.
“Unfortunately, in our previous two matches we had some players who were not at their best shape as they suffering from fever. But now, everyone
is available, and we are raring to go for the match against Turkey.
“This is our third match in the tournament and if we beat Turkey we will be among the top eight teams in the world and obviously there will be more pressure on our shoulders but we are ready for it.”