CLASSIC UFWC TITLE MATCH:
Malta 0-8 Netherlands, 19 December 1990
European Championships qualifier, Ta’Qali Stadium, Valletta
Scorers: Van Basten (5), Bergkamp (2), Winter
Malta has repelled many foreign forces during the course of its history, but this visit from UFWC and Euro champs the Netherlands ended in crushing defeat.
Football was introduced to the Mediterranean island by British soldiers in the mid-1800s, and the Maltese set up a football association in 1863 – the same year that the English FA was formed. But Malta didn’t start playing international football until 1957, and didn’t play a UFWC title match until 1971.
The Malta team of 1990 was a relatively vintage one, featuring several of the country’s all-time most-capped players and top goalscorers, including David Carabott and Carmel Busuttil. But wins were scarce for one of the smallest nations in world football, and they had no chance against the fearsome Dutch, led by the attacking trio of Dennis Bergkamp, Marco van Basten and captain Ruud Gullit.
The Oranje had briefly been UFWC champs following their Euro 88 win, but had only just recaptured the title with a 2-0 win over Greece.
Here in Valletta, van Basten had a hat-trick within 23 minutes, on his way to a five-goal haul. Aron Winter made it 4-0 in the second half, before Bergkamp got two, and van Basten got two more – the last from the penalty spot.
Poor Malta had been trounced by eight full goals. The Netherlands held on to the title until March 1992, when they were beaten by Portugal.