North Macedonia vs. England Preview: Lucky number seven for the Three Lions?

20 November 2023

England will conclude their Euro 2024 qualification campaign against North Macedonia on Monday night, as Gareth Southgate’s side look to end on a high.

North Macedonia vs. England
Monday 20th November
Kick-off: 7.45pm

North Macedonia 15/1 | Draw 11/2 | England 1/5

England kicked things off with a 2-1 win in Italy and ever since then they have been in a commanding position in Group C. Indeed, England have never been in danger of dropping out of the top two and they secured their place at the tournament thanks to a second victory over Italy in October.

A 2-0 defeat of Malta on Friday wrapped up top spot for Southgate’s men, who will now be seeking a seventh win in eight qualifiers on Monday.

England’s performance against Malta left a lot to be desired. They took an early lead thanks to Enrico Pepe’s own goal in the eighth minute, but it took until the final quarter of the match for England to add a second through Harry Kane.

The home team had plenty of possession and Malta did not manage a single shot on target, but England were uninspired for most of the match. They only landed three attempts on target themselves - a very poor tally given the quality of the opposition they were up against it.

Had they blown Malta away last time out, England could be vulnerable in this dead rubber. But after a disappointing showing at Wembley, we can expect to see the Three Lions go all-out for a final victory in Group C.

This will be England’s last match until March, so although they are already through to the European Championship, this encounter in Skopje is not totally insignificant. There are relatively few opportunities for international managers to take a close look at the players at their disposal, so there will be takeaways for Southgate on Monday even if the result is not all-important.

North Macedonia have only beaten Malta in this group. They qualified for Euro 2020 but will not be taking part in next summer’s edition in Germany having already been condemned to a fourth-place finish. North Macedonia did manage to score twice against Italy in their last outing, but they conceded five times and were beaten pretty comfortably by Luciano Spalletti’s side.

England won the reverse fixture 7-0 in London but they will not find things quite so easy this time around. Even so, it is hard to see North Macedonia denying them a comfortable victory.

England have one of the best squads in the world at their disposal, and the indication is that Southgate will name a strong XI at the Tose Proeski Arena. That is bad news for North Macedonia, who may struggle to live with England once again.

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