MX23RW : Friday, June 18 20:44:12| >> :600:102572:102572:
Jun 1, 2021 at 5pm UK
N. MacedoniaNorth Macedonia
1-1
SloveniaSlovenia
Elmas (55')
Musliu (27'), Alioski (37'), Kostadinov (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Crnigoj (90+7')
Stulac (52'), Stojanovic (53'), Kurtic (87')

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

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

North Macedonia begin their preparations for Euro 2020 with a home match against Slovenia in Skopje on Tuesday evening.

The Lions stunned Germany 2-1 in their most recent match and will be looking to carry that momentum into their first major tournament as an independent nation.


Match preview

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

As far as shock results go, four-time world champions Germany losing at home to North Macedonia at the end of March is up there with the best of them.

Ilkay Gundogan cancelled out veteran striker Goran Pandev's opener, but Igor Angelovski's side found a winning goal in the 85th minute through Eljif Elmas.

That made it two victories from three games in World Cup qualifying, having lost their opening fixture to Romania, but for now all focus is on the European Championship finals.

The Lions reached the pan-European tournament for the first time in their 28-year history thanks to a playoff qualifying win against Georgia six months ago.

Angelovski's side have a couple of friendlies, against Slovenia and then Kazakhstan, before facing Austria, Ukraine and the Netherlands in Group C.

The first of those matches against Austria in Bucharest is just a couple of weeks away, so North Macedonia could do with a positive display against Slovenia on Tuesday.

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek pictured on March 27, 2021© Reuters

The visitors will not be competing at Euro 2020 after finishing fourth to Poland, Austria and indeed North Macedonia in their qualifying group.

Slovenia finished with an identical record to their opponents, but an inferior head-to-head record saw them eliminated and North Macedonia progress through to the playoffs.

The fine margins between the sides is only highlighted by a look at the latest FIFA rankings, with Slovenia one place behind the Lions.

Matjaz Kek's men have made a mixed start to World Cup qualifying, having followed up an impressive win over Croatia with back-to-back losses against Russia and Cyprus.

They are winless in three away from home, while North Macedonia are unbeaten in seven in Skopje over the past couple of years.

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

Slovenia form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L



Team News

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

With three months since his side's last outing, and just two weeks until their Euro 2020 opener, Angelovski will surely be tempted to field his strongest side on Tuesday.

Pandev will compete at his first international tournament at the age of 37, while Leeds United defender Ezgjan Alioski is another notable name in their squad.

Elmas netted the famous winner against Germany and is in line to start against Slovenia, likely positioned just off Pandev and Aleksandar Trajkovski.

As for the visitors, long-serving boss Kek will use June's friendlies with North Macedonia and Gibraltar as a chance to keep his players ticking over.

Following successive qualifying defeats, this seems a good opportunity for Slovenia to change things around slightly ahead of more important games further down the line.

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

Slovenia possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Stojanovic, Blazic, Mevlja, Balkovec; Bijol, Kurtic, Lovric; Ilicic, Sporar, Bohar


SM words green background

We say: North Macedonia 2-0 Slovenia

This may only be a friendly, but there is an element of importance to it from North Macedonia's perspective as they will be eager to keep their momentum going.

Just one place separates the sides in terms of FIFA rankings, but the hosts got the better of their opponents in the last qualifying campaign and we can see them prevailing here.



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 Slovenia

North Macedonia
64.4%
Draw
17.8%
Slovenia
17.8%
73
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North Macedonia's Eljif Elmas celebrates scoring against Germany on March 31, 2021
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World Cup qualification roundup: Germany stunned by North Macedonia
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