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North Macedonia national football team
Euro Champ Qualifying | Group Stage
Jun 16, 2023 at 7.45pm UK
Tose Proeski Arena
Ukraine national football team

N. Macedonia
2 - 3
Ukraine

Bardhi (31' pen.), Elmas (39')
Ristovski (8'), Musliu (54'), Shishkovski (90+5')
Musliu (72')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Zabarnyi (62'), Konoplya (67'), Tsygankov (83')
Dovbyk (45+1'), Mykolenko (90+5')

Preview: North Macedonia vs. Ukraine - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Euro Champ Qualifying clash between North Macedonia and Ukraine, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

On the back of an all-action 3-3 draw with Germany, Ukraine aim to pick up their first win in Euro 2024 qualifying Group C when they travel to North Macedonia on Friday.

Sergiy Rebrov's men sit fourth in the section thanks to their opening loss to England, while their hosts saw off Malta by a 2-1 scoreline to start on the right foot.


Match preview

North Macedonia coach Blagoja Milevski is sent of after being shown a red card by referee Kristo Tohver on March 23, 2023© Reuters

Fresh from their historic yet short-lived appearance at Euro 2020 and run to the World Cup qualifying playoff final - which ended in heartbreak against Portugal - North Macedonia have now been brought crashing back down to earth and then some.

Blagoja Milevski's team won just two of their six Nations League fixtures in 2022-23 to remain in Group C, but their attempts to make back-to-back Euros finals began in ideal fashion with a narrow triumph over Malta on March 23, where Eljif Elmas and Darko Churlinov made the net ripple.

The world's 65th-ranked nation were full value for that triumph - even if it was a gritty one - and they made it successive wins not long after with a 1-0 friendly beating of the Faroe Islands, although they had to wait until the 81st minute for Bojan Miovski's crucial contribution.

At this embryonic stage, North Macedonia are only behind Italy in the Group C standings on goal difference with a game in hand, but a taxing trip to England awaits Milevski's men three days after their showdown with Ukraine, who could become the hosts' fifth straight victim in Euro qualifying.

Indeed, the Lynxes have claimed four wins from their last four Euro qualifying matches against Israel, Kosovo, Georgia and Malta, but they have never won five in a row at this stage before, and Ukraine possessed a striking taste for goals in Bremen.

Ukraine celebrate scoring a goal against Scotland in their World Cup playoff fixture on June 1, 2022.© Reuters

A chaotic 1,000th international game for Germany saw Hansi Flick's three-man defensive experiment begin horrendously, as Ukraine's pressing forced Die Mannschaft into costly errors while attempting to play out from the back, but Rebrov's men could not spoil the party completely.

Niclas Fullkrug propelled Germany into the ascendancy with just six minutes gone, but the hosts were soon stunned by two Viktor Tsygankov strikes either side of an Antonio Rudiger own goal, and Kai Havertz was once again called upon to save his side's bacon off the bench - cutting the deficit in half before winning a last-gasp penalty for Joshua Kimmich to fire home inside the final 10 minutes.

Ukraine more than capitalised on Germany's prolonged rearguard concerns at the Weserstadion and would do well to carry that attacking momentum forward into Friday's game, having begun their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with a 2-0 loss to England on March 26 courtesy of quickfire goals from Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka.

The visitors' exciting stalemate with Germany means that the Blue and Yellow - who also lock horns with Malta this month - have just one win to show from their last six games in all tournaments, but they had previously gone unbeaten in 10 Euro qualifying contests before their loss to England and are no strangers to success in this fixture.

Ukraine failed to win either of their first two meetings with North Macedonia in a pair of 2003 and 2004 friendlies, but they have since amassed a trio of wins at various points of the European Championship process, including a 2-1 triumph in the Euro 2020 group stage in Bucharest.

North Macedonia Euro Champ Qualifying form:


North Macedonia form (all competitions):


Ukraine Euro Champ Qualifying form:


Ukraine form (all competitions):



Team News

Chelsea's new signing Mykhaylo Mudryk applauds fans at half time on January 15, 2023© Reuters

Two of North Macedonia's goalscorers from March's round of fixtures will not turn out for the Lynxes here, as Aberdeen attacker Miovski and Burnley winger Churlinov - who was recently hospitalised due to blood poisoning - have been left out of the squad.

Istanbulspor midfielder Valon Ethemi has also withdrawn due to an unspecified injury, but with Napoli's Elmas and Trabzonspor's Enis Bardhi boasting 23 international goals between them, Milevski should not have too many selection concerns in the engine room.

Twenty-goal attacker Aleksandar Trajkovski - North Macedonia's second-highest scorer of all time after Goran Pandev (38) - will expect to start up front alongside Udinese's Ilija Nestorovski, who has 10 strikes to show from 50 games for the national team.

As for Ukraine, Rebrov has no new injury worries to report from their six-goal spectacular with Germany, although Club Brugge striker Roman Yaremchuk was forced to leave the camp prior to that game due to injury.

The visiting manager should see little reason to disrupt the harmony after his side's valiant display in Bremen, where Shakhtar Donetsk duo Heorhiy Sudakov and Taras Stepanenko paired up in the middle in the absence of Arsenal's Oleksandr Zinchenko.

After nearly gifting Fullkrug the opening goal inside the first two minutes, Chelsea attacker Mykyahlo Mudryk redeemed himself with the shot that deflected off Rudiger and into the net for Ukraine's second, but the 22-year-old is still without a goal of his own in 10 games for his country.


North Macedonia possible starting lineup:
Dimitrievski; Velkovski, Zajkov, Musliu; Ristovski, Bardhi, Ademi, Alioski; Elmas; Nestorovski, Trajkovski

Ukraine possible starting lineup:
Trubin; Tymchyk, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko; Tsygankov, Stepanenko, Sudakov, Mudryk; Yarmolenko, Dovbyk


SM words green background

We say: North Macedonia 1-2 Ukraine

While Germany dominated the possession and shooting statistical columns against Ukraine, Rebrov's side punished their hosts' lackadaisical defending and can be relied upon to do the same against a waning North Macedonia outfit.

The manner of the hosts' wins over the Faroe Islands and Malta in March were far from convincing, and we can only picture Ukraine ending the Lynxes' winning sequence to kick-start their bid for a top-two finish.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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Game History

How you voted: N. Macedonia vs Ukraine

North Macedonia
18.6%
Draw
9.3%
Ukraine
72.1%
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Ukraine's Oleksandr Zinchenko celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on June 7, 2021
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Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Spain Spain870121
Q Scotland flag Scotland852117
3 Norway Norway832311
4 Georgia Georgia82248
5 Cyprus Cyprus80080

Group B

TeamPWDLPTS
Q France France871022
Q Netherlands Netherlands860218
3 Greece Greece841313
4 Ireland Rep. Ireland82066
5 Gibraltar flag Gibraltar80080

Group C

TeamPWDLPTS
Q England flag England862020
Q Italy Italy842214
3 Ukraine Ukraine842214
4 Macedonia N. Macedonia82248
5 Malta flag Malta80080

Group D

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Turkey Turkey852117
Q Croatia Croatia851216
3 Wales flag Wales833212
4 Armenia Armenia82248
5 Latvia Latvia81073

Group E

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Albania national flag Albania843115
Q Czech Republic Czech Republic843115
3 Poland Poland832311
4 Republic of Moldova Moldova824210
5 Faroe Islands Faroe Islands80262

Group F

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Belgium Belgium862020
Q Austria Austria861119
3 Sweden Sweden831410
4 Azerbaijan Azerbaijan82157
5 Estonia Estonia80171

Group G

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Hungary Hungary853018
Q Serbia Serbia842214
3 Montenegro Montenegro832311
4 Lithuania Lithuania81346
5 Bulgaria Bulgaria80444

Group H

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Denmark Denmark1071222
Q Slovenia Slovenia1071222
3 Finland Finland1060418
4 Kazakhstan Kazakhstan1060418
5 Northern Ireland flag N. Ireland103079
6 San Marino flag San Marino1000100

Group I

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Romania Romania1064022
Q Switzerland Switzerland1045117
3 Israel Israel1043315
4 Belarus Belarus1033412
5 Kosovo flag Kosovo1025311
6 Andorra flag Andorra100282

Group J

TeamPWDLPTS
Q Portugal Portugal10100030
Q Slovakia Slovakia1071222
3 Luxembourg flag Luxembourg1052317
4 Iceland Iceland1031610
5 Bosnia Bosnia H'vina103079
6 Liechtenstein flag Liechtenstein1000100


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