With two victories, one draw and a second-placed finish, Albania can look back with pride at their performances in the mini-tournament in Malta. It was a remarkable achievement for a team making its debut appearance in a women’s competition at any level. Their success is all the more noteworthy given that they are currently a long way behind Latvia, Luxembourg and Malta in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking. Hosts Malta were also in fine form and, following a 1-1 draw in their opening fixture against Albania, coach Pierre Brincat’s charges roared through the gears. After routing Luxembourg 6-0 in their second outing, they went on to beat Latvia 2-0 in their final match.
“It’s a huge satisfaction to top the group, especially competing with larger countries,” said Brincat. “We’ve made history for Malta with this qualification. This is the result of a lot of dedication from the players, who have come into this tournament believing in themselves. We’re looking forward to the draw on the 16th April. This was a huge learning experience for these players and it’s only the beginning. We hope to get into a good group and we’ll do our best against the more experienced nations.”