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North Macedonia v Italy Preview, Tips & Stats

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          North Macedonia vs Italy Preview, Tips & Stats

          North Macedonia host Italy at the Tose Proeski Arena this Saturday in match day five of the UEFA Euro Qualifiers. Italy will be looking to get revenge against North Macedonia for the loss that saw them miss out on the 2022 World Cup, whereas North Macedonia will be looking to qualify for their second ever Euros appearance.

          North Macedonia sit fourth in Group C currently. After three games, North Macedonia have one win and two losses leaving them on just three points. This means North Macedonia are on joint points with Italy, but are three points adrift of second place Ukraine.

          The only win of North Macedonia's Qualifiers was their first outing against Malta. Elif Elmas and Darko Churlinov both scored to give North Macedonia the 2 - 0 lead. Yannick Yankam did score late on for Malta, but North Macedonia pushed on for the 2 - 1 win. Next was a visit from Ukraine. Enis Bardhi converted a penalty and Elmas scored to give North Macedonia the 2 - 0 lead going into halftime. Illia Zabarnyi and Yukhym Konoplya scored within five minutes of each other to level the game, with Visar Musliu being shown his second yellow card and was dismissed. Viktor Tsyhankov popped up with the winner in the 83rd minute to give Ukraine the 3 - 2 win. The trip to England was a miserable affair for North Macedonia as The Three Lions ran riot with Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Kalvin Phillips all scoring to win 7 - 0.

          Amongst all of these Qualifiers, North Macedonia hosted the Faroe Islands in an international friendly. Bojan Miovski scored the only goal late on in a 1 - 0 win.

          Italy sit a disappointing third in Group C. However, Italy have only played two games so far, picking up one win and one loss and three points. This leaves Italy three points outside of qualification and nine points adrift of top spot England.

          The Azzurri started their qualifying campaign against England. This time Italy were on the wrong side of a 2 - 1 scoreline as Declan Rice and Kane scored for the 2 - 0 lead. Mateo Retegui scored for Italy but the Azzurri were unable to capitalise on Luke Shaw's red card as England took the win. However, next time out, Italy grabbed their first win. Retegui scored again along with Matteo Pessina to take home a 2 - 0 win against Malta.

          Italy's other games have been played in the Nations League. Yeremy Pino scored in the third minute to open the scoring for Spain but Ciro Immobile converted his penalty under ten minutes later. However, Joselu scored in the 88th minute to give Spain the Semi-final win. The Azzurri met the Netherlands in the third place match. Federico Dimarco, Davide Frattesi and Federico Chiesa all scored in a 3 - 2 win for the bronze.

          North Macedonia and Italy have met each other three times in their histories, the first meeting coming recently in 2016. Both sides have one win and there has been one draw, and the most recent win went North Macedonia's way as their 1 - 0 win prevented Italy going to the World Cup.

          North Macedonia Team News

          North Macedonia head coach Blagoja Milevski has opted for a 5 - 3 - 2 formation when coming against the teams with the attacking prowess. Ilija Nestorovski and Aleksandar Trajkovski have been the preferred attackers for Milevski and Gjoko Zajkov, Velkovski and Stefan Ristovski are likely to keep their spots in the heart of the defence.

          Italy Team News

          Luciano Spalletti has a whole crop of talent to choose from for his Italy team. Retegui was amongst the goals last international break but veteran Leonardo Bonucci missed out on a call up this break. Arsenal's Jorginho also misses out with Manuel Locatelli and Alessio Romagnoli coming back in.