Our prediction for this Euro 2024 match:
Italy will be looking to move closer to automatic qualification places when they take on North Macedonia at National Arena Toshe Proeski on Saturday evening. The Azzurri won bronze medal in the UEFA Nations League in June, with the team beating Netherlands 3-2 in the third-place playoffs, meaning that they are high on confidence ahead of the trip to Skopje. New boss Luciano Spalletti has named Nicolo Zaniolo and Wilfried Gnonto in the Italy squad, while PSV midfielder Marco Verratti has surprisingly been omitted.
The North Macedonians, on the other hand, experienced all sorts of problems at the back in a 7-0 loss to England, which is yet another reason why we are going to bet on the visiting side. The good news for the away team is that defender Visar Musliu is back to the starting XI after missing the last group game through suspension.
Highlighted Player (Marco Verratti):
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is the creative force of the French champions and a world-class professional even though he is only 23. Deemed one of the most talented Italian players of the new generation, Marco Verratti began his career in Pescara, his home town club, from which he was directly transferred to PSG much to surprise of the general football community.
Technically gifted playmaker was snapped by Les Parisiens in 2012 in front of Napoli, Roma and Juventus in a five-year deal worth €12 million. Marco Verratti has since gone to become a key member for the French champions already surpassing the 100-game mark for PSG.
The 23-year-old playmaker is a player of great vision and awareness, very calm and composed on the ball. His passing skills are impressive often compared to Italian legend Andrea Pirlo’s. Despite his diminutive figure Marco Verratti is not afraid to get in duels and participate in defence duties which make him an all-rounder and great influence in every segment of the play.
Highlighted Team (North Macedonia):
Former Yugoslavian republic North Macedonia became member of both FIFA and UEFA in 1994 and they have been competing on the international stage ever since. The Crveni Risovi rolled over Slovenia (4-1) in their first ever official match and the team recorded their biggest win on November 9, 11996, with the team crushing minnows Liechtenstein 11-1 in Eschen-Mauren.
The North Macedonians have yet to qualify for the finals of a major tournament despite the fact that several high-profile footballers played for the former Yugoslav republic. Goran Pandev is undisputedly the team’s most notable player as he played for the likes of Lazion, Inter, Napoli and Galatasaray during his professional career.
Pandev scored his 28th and 29th goal for North Macedonia in a 3-0 win over Belarus in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. However, Goce Seldloski is the most capped player (100). North Macedonia welcome their rivals at Philip II Arena and they wear red shirts with yellow stripe and red shorts when playing at home ground. The colour of their away kits is white.