Road to Euro 2020: North Macedonia Team Analysis from The Scouting App

North Macedonia will participate in their first ever major international tournament at this summer’s Euro 2020.

Igor Angelovski’s men finished third in Qualifying Group G behind Poland and Austria, but were able to advance to this summer’s showpiece via the play-offs thanks to their UEFA Nations League performance. They beat Kosovo and Georgia 2-1 and 1-0 respectively to secure their spot.

Though complete novices at this level, North Macedonia do have plenty of talent and a good amount of experience in their squad, and everyone involved will be keen to make an impression to show that their nation can hold their own at this level. They’ll face a familiar opponent in Group C in Austria, while they’re joined by the Netherlands and Ukraine, who will certainly offer a stern test of their credentials. In the build up to Euro 2020, North Macedonia did manage to beat Germany 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier meaning they can hold their own in the big league.

Their manager, Igor Angelovski is a proven winner with a league title and two cup triumphs with Rabotnički Skopje in the Macedonian domestic circuit. He took over the national side in October 2015 and North Macedonia haven’t looked back since. They failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but won 3 qualifying games, the most in a single campaign. Recently, they have only lost 2 out of their last 10 games.

Tactically, Angelovski is quite flexible and experimenting. North Macedonia have played with a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-4-2 system, but they prefer playing with 3-4-1-2. Their team may be short of experience at the top level, but amongst the Macedonians plays a certain 37 year old Goran Pandev who has netted 37 times for the national team and has played for European giants such as Inter. He holds the key to Macedonia’s fortunes this summer.

Wing-backs Ezgjan Alioski and Stefan Ristovski play a crucial part in the build up and creating chances in the final third. Making sure they do not spend too much time defending will be key for North Macedonia going forward. Arijan Ademi and Boban Nikolov will have a huge role to play in midfield making sure they protect the back three and allow the wing-backs to gallop forward. Napoli’s Eljif Elmas will be crucial for linking up with the widemen. Elmas is given the role of roaming freely horizontally. Its safe to say North Macedonia will rely a lot on their wing-backs for creating chances at Euro 2020.

North Macedonia Player to Look Out For:

Elijf Elmas

Eljif Elmas was North Macedonia’s top scorer in qualifying with four goals and an assist to his name. He has also regularly featured for Napoli this season making 44 appearances, though mostly of the bench.

Capable of playing through the middle, Elmas usually operates on the left for Napoli. This is where he drifts for North Macedonia, too, despite starting centrally. From here, he can combine with Alioski as he pushes forward, while also allowing him freedom to come back inside and get shots in goal and offer a little more central dominance. Though no slouch, Elmas isn’t the quickest and usually relies on guile and technical ability to beat the opponent. He’ll be one of Angelovski’s main chance creators this summer.

Download the Scouting Report  of Elijf Elmas from The Scouting App

North Macedonia Expected Line-Up (3-4-1-2): Dimitrievski; Musliu, Velkovski, Bejtulaji; Ristovski, Nikolov, Ademi, Alisoki; Elmas; Pandev, Nestrovski

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