UEFA ranking: 32

How they qualified: Winners of Play-off Path D

Euro 2016 performance: Did not qualify

Previous European Championship appearances: 0 (as independent nation)

Best result: N/A

Background

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North Macedonia will be making their debut at this summer’s Euro 2020, after qualifying for the tournament through the Nations League play-offs. The Lynxes finished third in their qualifying group behind Poland and Austria, but they were able to qualify for the play-offs, where they defeated Kosovo, before winning 1-0 against Georgia in the play-off path D final. North Macedonia are the lowest-ranked team at this summer’s Euro 2020, but the country with a population of just over 2 million will be hoping to make a lasting impression in their first-ever major international tournament.

The Coach

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North Macedonia’s manager Igor Angelovski might be the joint-youngest manager at Euro 2020, but he is the fifth longest-serving manager at the tournament. The 44-year-old began his managing career at North Macedonia side Robotnicki in 2013, and during his spell as manager he managed to lead the team to one league title and two cup wins. Following his predecessor Ljubinko Drulovic’s exit, Angelovski was appointed manager of the national team in 2015. While North Macedonia finished second bottom in their first qualifiers under their new manager for the 2018 World Cup, they made history by qualifying for Euro 2020.

Key Player

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Who else but Mr. North Macedonia Goran Pandev. Pandev is not only the country’s all-time top scorer, but he is top of the appearance charts as well with 117 caps since 2001. The now 37-year-old veteran forward spent almost the entirety of his 20+ year career in Italy, playing for the likes of Lazio, Inter Milan, and Napoli. He is arguably North Macedonia’s best-ever player, and there is perhaps no better man to lead North Macedonia in their first-ever international tournament.

 

Predicted line-up

NORTH-MACEDONIA-lineup

 

Euro 2020 Chances

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North Macedonia are the lowest-ranked team at Euro 2020, while they are also drawn in Group C with the Netherlands, Ukraine, and Austria. The Netherlands are the clear favourites to top the group, and while the second and potentially even the third place are up for grabs, it is still difficult to see how North Macedonia can reach the knockout stages at this summer’s tournament. While they are certainly not anyone’s favourites, North Macedonia will be making sure they are not only there to make up the numbers.

Transfer Watch

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Levante midfielder Enis Bardhi has reportedly been monitored by Arsenal and Newcastle United, both of which were strongly linked with the 25-year-old in 2020. Bardhi is a box-to-box midfielder, primarily deployed in central midfield, but capable of playing essentially any role in midfield. Last summer it was reported that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was interested in bringing in the 2017 North Macedonia player of the year to add to his midfield options. Likewise, Newcastle United were believed to make a move for Bardhi in January of this year, but neither move materialised. If Bardhi can have a good Euro 2020 tournament this summer, maybe Arsenal and Newcastle will take another look at the midfielder.