Tose Proeski Arena forms the backdrop for Monday evening’s European Championship 2024 qualifier as North Macedonia plays host to England.
The Three Lions head into the fixture knowing that securing a single point would be enough to guarantee their place in Pot 1 for the Euro 2024 draw.
The tournament is poised to deliver a spectacle, and supporters eager to witness all the action live can buy EURO 2024 tickets from Seatsnet.com at competitive prices.
Gareth Southgate have enjoyed a fantastic campaign, picking up 19 points from seven matches to comfortably sit at the summit of Group C and advance to next summer’s tournament in Germany.
In contrast to their visitors, North Macedonia have been eliminated from qualification contention, sitting in fourth position in Group C after taking just seven points from seven matches.
They have won two, drawn one and lost four of their seven qualification fixtures for Euro 2024, rendering their match against England inconsequential.
North Macedonia reached the Euro 2020 finals, marking their first-ever participation in a major tournament, but they will not feature in the upcoming tournament in Germany.
Blagoja Milevski’s side will head into this match off the back of an entertaining 5-2 defeat to Italy on Friday, while they were also beaten by a comprehensive 2-0 scoreline by Ukraine in the middle of October.
Both of North Macedonia’s wins in Group C have come against Mediterranean minnows Malta, but they are understandably the underdogs for Monday’s encounter.
Especially considering they suffered a thoroughly embarrassing 7-0 defeat in the reverse match against Gareth Southgate’s side at Wembley in mid-June.
The Lions will aim to contend for a place in the 2026 World Cup. Their journey to the play-off final for the 2022 World Cup ended in a 2-0 defeat to Portugal, where Bruno Fernandes scored twice for the hosts.
England will enter their final Group C fixture off the back of a 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley, which came courtesy of an own-goal from Enrico Pepe and a 75th-minute strike from captain Harry Kane.
The Three Lions delivered an unconvincing and uninspiring performance for most of the proceedings until Southgate unleashed some of the big guns from the bench, ultimately leading to Kane’s strike.
Despite their tepid display, victory ensures Southgate’s side can now boast six wins and one draw from their seven matches in Group C, notching 19 points and comfortably establishing themselves at the top of the group.
Southgate’s side are six points clear of second-placed Italy, but they need at least a point in Monday’s showdown against North Macedonia to guarantee a spot in pot 1 of the finals draw.
England will view the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany as a chance for retribution after emerging as runners-up in the previous edition, suffering a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy.
Southgate’s crop of eye-catching talent will fancy their chances of advancing into the latter stages of the Euro 2024.
But they will face competition for the ultimate crown in what is shaping up to be a fascinating tournament.
With key players likely already settled in the squad, Monday’s contest remains crucial for those seeking to secure their spot in the group, highlighting the importance of delivering a standout performance.
Despite suffering a humiliating 7-0 defeat at Wembley in the previous encounter with England, North Macedonia have proven to be a challenging opponent, as seen in their resilient 1-1 draw against Italy in September.
Milevski’s side secured a narrow 2-1 victory over Malta in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier on home soil before squandering a promising 2-0 lead at halftime in the 3-2 defeat to Ukraine.
However, North Macedonia’s ability to score on their home turf suggests that England should not take anything for granted, even though they have conceded just three goals in their seven Group C matches.
Adding to the intrigue, England’s two previous competitive visits to North Macedonia resulted in narrow victories by single-goal margins.
This record highlights the potential for a closely contested encounter, emphasizing the need for England to approach the match with cautious optimism.
Southgate would likely welcome another narrow victory, as it could secure England’s place in pot one and maintain their near-perfect record since returning from last year’s World Cup tournament in Qatar (W8, D1).
Extending this impressive run of form appears highly likely, given that the Group C leaders have not lost any of their five previous encounters with North Macedonia (W3, D2).
Apart from a 1-1 draw against Ukraine in September, the Three Lions have won all six remaining Euro 2024 qualifying matches, boasting a combined scoreline of 20-2.
Despite settling for a lacklustre stalemate in Wroclaw, the only blemish on an otherwise near-flawless five-game record in away Euro qualifiers (W4, D1), serves as a stark reminder that complacency does not pay off.
North Macedonia head coach Milevski is anticipated to implement changes to the line-up that started the match against Italy on Friday night.
Jani Atanasov, who scored a brace coming off the bench in the previous game, is expected to be included in the starting XI. Milan Ristovski and Stefan Ashkovski are also potential introductions.
Elif Elmas from Napoli and Enis Bardhi from Trabzonspor are likely to maintain their positions in the starting line-up, with Ezgjan Alioski also expected to secure another spot in the XI.
As for England, head coach Southgate is likely to make adjustments to the line-up that faced Malta on Friday night.
Rico Lewis could make his debut at left-back due to limited options in that position. Other potential starters include Bukayo Saka, Kalvin Phillips, Kyle Walker, Declan Rice, and Jack Grealish.
Marcus Rashford, who sustained an injury colliding with teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold during the Malta match, is unlikely to feature in the line-up against North Macedonia.
Nick Pope, John Stones, Luke Shaw, Reece James, Jude Bellingham, and James Maddison are missing from the squad due to fitness concerns.
Despite his impressive performances for Chelsea this season, Raheem Sterling has once again been left out.
North Macedonia potential starting line-up:
(3-4-3): Stole Dimitrievski; Stefan Ashkovski, Nikola Serafimov, Visar Musliu; Bojan Dimoski, Jani Atanasov, Agon Elezi, Ezgjan Alioski; Milan Ristovski, Enis Bardhi, Elif Elmas
England potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, Marc Guehi, Harry Maguire, Rico Lewis; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips; Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka.
We Say: North Macedonia 1-2 England
This upcoming game poses a potential challenge for England, considering North Macedonia’s roster of skilled players.
Given England’s less-than-inspiring performance against Malta, the match on Monday night might be closely contested in terms of the scoreline.
While we anticipate an England victory, the outcome could be a closely fought battle.