Euro 2020 North Macedonia squad Preview: The small Balkan country of North Macedonia is experiencing unbridled joy as they prepare for their debut at Euro 2020. It is the first time the senior team has qualified for a major international tournament and North Macedonia have the desire to do more than just make up numbers at the continental competition.
Igor Angelovski’s troops secured their berth at Euro 2020 courtesy of their playoff win over Georgia and are no pushovers, especially considering they beat Germany 2-1 during a World Cup qualifier in March.
While all of their players are already cult heroes for helping North Macedonia qualify for the Euros, they will not shy away from another shot at adding to their historic achievement.
North Macedonia in Group C of Euro 2020:
The new-comers have been drawn alongside the likes of Austria, Netherlands and Ukraine in Group C of the tournament. Undoubtedly, North Macedonia will target the first two games against Austria and Ukraine in Bucharest as their opportunities to try and announce themselves.
As such, by the time they make their trip to Amsterdam to face Netherlands, North Macedonia would have a clear idea of where they stand in terms of qualification. The Euro has consistently produced several remarkable underdog stories in the past, but in order to replicate something similar, North Macedonia should ensure they aren’t overwhelmed by the magnitude of the occasion.
Although qualification seems like a tall order, they are not expected to go down without a fight.
North Macedonia head-to-head record:
v Austria W-0; D-0; L-2
v Ukraine W-1; D-1; L-2
v Netherlands W-0; D-2; L-2
Euro 2020 North Macedonia Schedule/Fixtures:
June 13: vs Austria, 9:30 PM at National Arena, Bucharest
June 17: vs Ukraine, 6:30 PM at National Arena, Bucharest
June 21: vs Netherlands, 9:30 PM at Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam
Where to watch Euro 2020 North Macedonia matches in India?
All the matches from Euro 2020 will be telecasted on TV by the Sony Sports Network. Live Streaming will also be available on Sony Liv, their OTT platform.
North Macedonia squad for Euro 2020:
Goalkeepers: Stole Dimitrievski (Rayo Vallecano), Risto Jankov (Rabotnicki), Damjan Siskovski (Doxa Katokopia)
Defenders: Egzijan Alioski (Leeds), Egzon Bejtulai (Shkëndija), Visar Musliu (Fehérvár), Kire Ristevski (Újpest), Stefan Ristovski (Dinamo Zagreb), Darko Velkovski (Rijeka), Gjoko Zajkov (Charleroi)
Midfielders: Arijan Ademi (Dinamo Zagreb), Enis Bardi (Levante), Darko Churlinov (Stuttgart), Eljif Elmas (Napoli), Feran Hasani (Partizani), Tihomir Kostadinov (Ružomberok), Boban Nikolov (Lecce), Milan Ristovski (Spartak Trnava), Stefan Spirovski (AEK Larnaca)
Forwards: Daniel Avramovski (Kayserispor), Goran Pandev (Genoa), Marjan Radeski (Akademija Pandev), Vlatko Stojanovski (Chambly), Aleksandar Trajkovski (Mallorca), Ivan Tričkovski (AEK Larnaca), Krste Velkovski (Sarajevo)
Coach: Igor Angelovski
North Macedonia Squad for Euro 2020, Players to watch out for:
Goran Pandev – The veteran striker is quite easily the biggest icon in the history of North Macedonian football. Pandev, who was an integral member of the 2010 Champions League-winning side at Inter, had announced retirement from international football in 2013.
However, since overturning the decision in 2016, Pandev has pushed North Macedonia to unparalleled heights. The 37-year-old currently plies his trade in Serie A with Genoa and netted his 100th goal in the Italian top-flight last season.
Pandev has hinted at retirement after his European adventure this summer and the entire nation of North Macedonia will be hoping their hero can bow out in style.
Eljif Elmas – Elmas means “Diamond” in Turkish and the Napoli midfielder could not have been named better. The 21-year-old is quite easily the biggest prospect to have emerged from North Macedonia.
Born to Turkish parents in the capital city of Skopje, Elmas quickly rose to prominence courtesy of his talent. The midfielder was 17 when he went to the U21 European Championship with North Macedonia in 2017 and is now on the verge of making his mark at the senior continental competition.
Elmas struck the winner during the shock 2-1 win over Germany in March and is absolutely integral to North Macedonian hopes at the Euros.
Ezgjan Alioski – The Leeds United full-back has thrived under the influence of Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road. Alioski is expected to be deployed as a wing-back in Igor Angelovski’s preferred 3-5-2 formation.
Owing to his experience of playing in high-intensity games in the Championship and Premier League, Alioski is expected to remain unfazed by the demands at this level. The 29-year-old might be forced on the back foot time and again, but he will almost definitely relish the challenge like any other.
North Macedonia, Euro 2020 – Predictions
The Euros have witnessed several dramatic surprises over the years. If North Macedonia pull off something spectacular, it will be right up there with any other remarkable feat from the past.
All things considered, it could be a learning experience though. A lot will depend on their hugely-important opening clash with Austria.