MX23RW : Monday, August 2 16:20:13| >> :600:2181320:2181320:
Jun 4, 2021 at 5pm UK at Toše Proeski Arena
N. MacedoniaNorth Macedonia
4-0
KazakhstanKazakhstan
Alioski (35' pen.), Trichkovski (57'), Ristovski (74'), Churlinov (76')
Kostadinov (52')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Tapalov (32')
Muzhikov (45+2')

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

Sports Mole previews Friday's International Friendlies clash between North Macedonia and Kazakhstan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

In their final game before the beginning of Euro 2020 in under two weeks, North Macedonia play host to Kazakhstan in a friendly on Friday.

The hosts kicked off this round of international fixtures with a 1-1 draw against Slovakia on Tuesday, while Kazakhstan will play their only game of the international break, with no further action until September.


Match preview

North Macedonia's Enis Bardhi celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 28, 2021© Reuters

For North Macedonia, this is the final game before they play in the European Championships for the first time in their 28-year history, having qualified with a victory over Georgia in the playoffs in November.

Veteran forward Goran Pandev netted the only goal of the game early in the second half to fire his nation into their first major tournament, and they begin their campaign in under two weeks against Austria.

In their previous friendly, Igor Angelovski's men drew 1-1 at home to Slovakia on Tuesday, as they looked set to see out a 1-0 win thanks to Eljif Elmas's opener until Domen Crnigoj equalised for the visitors in the 97th minute.

Before that, North Macedonia recorded arguably one of the most impressive results in their history in the previous round of international fixtures in March, as they defeated four-time world champions Germany 2-1.

Pandev's opener was cancelled out by an Ilkay Gundogan penalty on the hour mark, but Elmas restored his nation's lead in the 85th minute to seal a historic win and boost their World Cup qualification bid.

That put the Lions up to second in the group, having picked up six points from their opening three games, but their attention, for now, will be firmly focussed on the upcoming European Championships.

They will be desperate to build momentum for the opening game with a win on Friday, as they look to defy the odds and qualify out of their group in the major tournament.

Kazakhstan manager Talgat Baysufinov pictured on March 31, 2021© Reuters

While their opponents did not qualify for Euro 2020, they will be aiming for a positive result in what is their only fixture in this round of international games.

Kazakhstan had a mixed start to their World Cup qualifying campaign in March, as they started with a 2-0 defeat at home to world champions France.

Ousmane Dembele opened the scoring in the 19th minute, before a Serhiy Malyi own goal on the stroke of half time put the game out of sight.

They then followed that up with a commendable point, as Talgat Baysufinov's side drew 1-1 away against Ukraine.

The hosts dominated throughout and led through Roman Yaremchuk, but Serikzhan Muzhikov found the net on the hour mark to earn a point for his side.

With the next round of World Cup qualifying games coming in September, the Hawks will look to earn a positive result on Friday before they play three important games in their bid to reach their first World Cup.

North Macedonia International Friendlies form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D

North Macedonia form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Kazakhstan International Friendlies form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Kazakhstan form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D



Team News

North Macedonia's Eljif Elmas celebrates scoring against Germany on March 31, 2021© Reuters

In the final game before the beginning of Euro 2020, North Macedonia should field a full-strength side as they look to build fluidity and match fitness.

That will see Goran Pandev lead the line with Aleksandar Trajkovski, while Elmas will offer plenty of threat behind the forwards.

Another key player for the Lions is wing-back Ezgjan Alioski, who featured in all but two of Leeds United's Premier League games this season.

Arijan Ademi and Boban Nikolov should continue to form their strong pairing in the middle, shielding the back three of Egzon Bejtulai, Darko Velkovski and Visar Musliu.

The only player in the Kazakhstan squad to play outside of his home country is forward Aleksey Shchotkin, who currently plies his trade in Russia for Rotor Volgograd.

Experienced midfielder Azat Nurgaliev should lead the side in the middle of the park, with the 34-year-old having made 42 appearances for his nation.

Serikzhan Muzhikov should also feature in midfield, having netted his second international goal in the draw with Ukraine in March.

North Macedonia possible starting lineup:
Dimitrievski; Bejtulai, Velkovski, Musliu; Ristovski, Nikolov, Ademi, Alioski; Elmas; Pandev, Trajkovski

Kazakhstan possible starting lineup:
Pokatilov; Valiullin, Marochkin, Alip, Malyi, Suyumbayev; Nurgaliev, Muzhikov, Tagybergen; Shchotkin, Nusserbayev


SM words green background

We say: North Macedonia 3-0 Kazakhstan

North Macedonia come to this game with plenty to play for, as they look to build momentum going into next Sunday's opening clash with Austria, and we see them recording a big win on Friday.

The hosts have much more quality than their opponents with the likes of Pandev and Alioski, and they should ensure they pick up a result in order to boost their confidence.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: N. Macedonia vs Kazakhstan

North Macedonia
89.7%
Draw
5.1%
Kazakhstan
5.1%
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North Macedonia's Eljif Elmas celebrates scoring against Germany on March 31, 2021
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Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of athletics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain in the final (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

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