Our prediction for this World Cup 2022 match:
After failing to secure automatic qualification to the World Cup finals, Italy will be aiming to make it to the showpiece tournament through the playoffs. Federico Chiesa misses out with injury, while Leonardo Bonucci is a major. Mario Balotelli failed to make the cut, and, as a result, Lazio ace Ciro Immobile will lead the line for the hosts. Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret has been ruled out with injury.
North Macedonia, on the other hand, booked their place in the playoffs thanks to a 3-1 win over Iceland. Udinese attacker Ilija Nestorovski has been left out of the squad, with both David Babunski and Kristijan Naumovski receiving surprising call-ups. Anyhow, we are tempted to put our money on the Azzurri, who are a real force to be reckoned with at home. In their last meeting in a competitive match the two teams played out a 1-1 draw back in October 2017.
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.