Here for a good time but probably not a long time, tournament debutants North Macedonia are the lowest ranked side at Euro 2020.
The Lions proved their qualification was no fluke when they shocked Germany in a 2022 World Cup qualifying match earlier this year, and head into Euro 2020 with only two losses in their last 13 games.
Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, NORTH MACEDONIA
Captain: Goran Pandev
Manager: Igor Angelovski
FIFA Ranking: 62
Best Finish: Never qualified
Austria v NORTH MACEDONIA – 13 June, 17:00 (BST). Arena Națională, Bucharest, Romania
Ukraine v NORTH MACEDONIA – 17 June, 14:00 (BST). Arena Națională, Bucharest, Romania
NORTH MACEDONIA v Netherlands – 21 June, 17:00 (BST). Johann Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The first big beneficiaries of the new Nations League format, North Macedonia originally missed out on qualification through the traditional route.
After finishing third in qualification Group G, the Lions had to rely on Path D of the play-offs, which they entered by virtue of their performances in the 2020/21 Nations League group stage.
Narrow victories over Kosovo and Georgia sent their population of two million absolutely crazy, as North Macedonia sealed their place at a major tournament for the first time in their 27-year history.
Goalkeepers: Stole Dimitrievski (Rayo Vallecano), Risto Jankov (Rabotnicki), Damjan Siskovski (Doxa Katokopia)
Defenders: Egzijan Alioski (Leeds), Egzon Bejtulai (Shkëndija), Visar Musliu (Fehérvár), Kire Ristevski (Újpest), Stefan Ristovski (Dinamo Zagreb), Darko Velkovski (Rijeka), Gjoko Zajkov (Charleroi)
Midfielders: Arijan Ademi (Dinamo Zagreb), Enis Bardi (Levante), Darko Churlinov (Stuttgart), Eljif Elmas (Napoli), Feran Hasani (Partizani), Tihomir Kostadinov (Ružomberok), Boban Nikolov (Lecce), Milan Ristovski (Spartak Trnava), Stefan Spirovski (AEK Larnaca)
Forwards: Daniel Avramovski (Kayserispor), Goran Pandev (Genoa), Marjan Radeski (Akademija Pandev), Vlatko Stojanovski (Chambly), Aleksandar Trajkovski (Mallorca), Ivan Tričkovski (AEK Larnaca), Krste Velkovski (Sarajevo)
Danger Man – Goran Pandev
Still going at the age of 37, Goran Pandev is an absolute icon of Eastern European football. A Champions League winner with Inter Milan in 2010, Pandev has spent a long and prosperous career in Italy with a brief spell in Turkey.
His nation’s all-time top scorer (37) and appearance maker (119), it is somewhat poetic that Pandev will get to sign off his international career by captaining his nation at an international tournament.
A big game player, Pandev scored the goal that earned qualification and was also on target in the win over Germany earlier in 2021.
One to Watch – Elif Elmas
At just 21 years of age, midfielder Elif Elmas has a frightening amount of experience in the professional game. After breaking through at FK Rabotnički in North Macedonia, he spent two years at Fenerbahce before earning a high-profile move to Napoli in 2019, where he remains today.
With 27 appearances and 7 international goals to his name already, Elmas is well on course to be a star of Macedonian football for years to come.
Premier League Representation
Leeds’ Ezgjan Alioski is the only member of North Macedonia’s 26-man squad to have featured in the Premier League in 2020/21, with no other player ever featuring for an English club.
Alioski’s 36 appearances last season are the most of any player in North Macedonia’s history.
Route to the Final
- If North Macedonia top the group, they will play the team who finishes third in Group D, E or F.
- If North Macedonia finish second, they will face the team who finish top of Group A (Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland)
- If they finish as one of the four best third place teams, they will play the winner of either Group E or F.
After the second round, the draw will depend on which third place teams qualified for the knockout stages.
- Goran Pandev is the fourth oldest player at Euro 2020.
- North Macedonia have only one victory from their 10 matches against their Group C opponents.
- Since Macedonia was officially renamed North Macedonia in February 2019, they have lost only two home matches.