The hosts of the 2018 showpiece are looking to qualify for the main event for a third consecutive time and a 12th time overall.
Stanislav Cherchesov's side marched all the way to the quarter-finals on home soil. They continued their terrific run by storming through their Euro 2020 qualifying group.
With eight wins from 10 games, the national team secured a direct spot at the upcoming championship. They've been drawn alongside powerhouse Belgium, Denmark and debutants Finland in the group stage of Euro 2020.
However, their form since the Nations League has nosedived.
After winning the opening two games, Russia picked up only two points from the next four, and remain winless in six games overall.
Malta could be the perfect opportunity to get themselves back on track as the Falcons are one of the weakest European sides.
Ranked at a lowly 176, the tiny Mediterranean island rarely ever win qualifiers, but an impressive Nations League campaign last year should give them confidence.
Malta vs Russia Head-To-Head
The sides have never met in a competitive fixture, however, Malta and Russia once locked horns in a 1996 friendly, with the latter winning 2-0.
Malta Form Guide (all competitions): D-W-W-W-D
Russia Form Guide (all competitions): D-D-L-L-L
Malta vs Russia Team News
Many veteran players have been called up for the upcoming triple-header. This includes Adrei Agius, who has 97 caps under his belt, as well as Zach Muscat, Steve Borg, and Luke Gambin.
Midfielder Rowen Muscat and forward Jean Paul Farrugia are out injured and will miss the first batch of qualifiers.
Injured: Rowen Muscat and Jean Paul Farrugia
Stanislav Cherchesov has named a strong squad featuring marquee names such as Yuri Zhirkov, Monaco's Aleksandr Golovin, Atalanta's Aleksei Miranchuk and skipper Artem Dzyuba.
However, Denis Cheryshev and Roman Zobnin are out injured, and striker Fydor Smolov hasn't been called up.
Injured: Denis Cheryshev and Roman Zobnin
Unavailable: Fydor Smolov
Malta vs Russia Predicted XI
Malta (3-4-2-1): Henry Bonello; Kurt Shaw, Andrei Agius, Steve Borg; Joseph Mbong, Myles Beerman, Teddy Teuma, Ryan Camenzuli; Luke Gambin, Jurgen Degabriele; Luke Montebello.
Russia (3-4-2-1): Andrey Lunyov; Andrei Semyonov, Georgi Dzhikiya, Fyodor Kudryashov; Daler Kuzyayev, Mario Fernandes, Magomed Ozdoyev, Yuri Zhirkov; Aleksei Miranchuk, Aleksandr Golovin; Artem Dzyuba.
Malta vs Russia Prediction
Russia have grown into a menacing outfit lately and should be able to see off Malta with ease.
Prediction: Malta 0-2 Russia