Qualification history
Despite taking part in qualifying since 1974, Malta have never made it to the FIFA World Cup™ finals. Indeed, it was not until May 1993, on the road to USA 1994, that they celebrated their first victory, a 1-0 triumph in Estonia that ensured the Knights did not finish bottom of their group. A further 19-year interval followed prior to their second win, another narrow away success (1-0 in Armenia) in a Brazil 2014 qualifier on 7 June 2013.

The team
The Maltese have made major strides in the last few years, as shown by creditable draws against FYR Macedonia (1-1) and Switzerland (0-0). However, arguably their greatest performance came even more recently, when they collected a point in Bulgaria (1-1) in a UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier on 16 November 2014. Veteran sharpshooter Michael Mifsud is the country's all-time leading goalscorer and remains a totemic presence up front, but goalkeeper Justin Haber and attacking midfielder Andre Schembri are also key figures.

The coach
The Italian Pietro Ghedin, a former defender, spent seven years in charge of the women's national team in his homeland between 2005 and 2012 prior to taking up the Malta job. The groundwork that he laid on being appointed is now beginning to bear fruit.

The stat
7 - Malta's biggest ever victory was a 7-1 home rout of Lichtenstein on 26 March 2008, while their heaviest defeat was a 12-1 drubbing by Spain on 21 December 1983.

The former stars
Gilbert Agius, David Carabott, Carmel Busuttil