Two of the winners from League D of the 2018 UEFA Nations League fight it out in Skopje for the opportunity to face either Georgia or Belarus in the Playoff final to fill one of the remaining UEFA EURO 2021 spots. Andrew Delaney shares his best betting tips for this clash in North Macedonia.
Who is playing?
North Macedonia vs Kosovo
What competition are North Macedonia and Kosovo playing in?
UEFA EURO Qualification Play-offs
When is North Macedonia vs Kosovo?
19:45 GMT, Thursday 8th October 2020
Which stadium is hosting North Macedonia vs Kosovo?
National Arena, Skopje, North Macedonia
What channel is North Macedonia vs Kosovo on?
Sky Sports Football
North Macedonia vs Kosovo summary
Anybody who loves to pluck for an underdog should take notice of events which will unfold in Skopje on Thursday. All four sides involved in the Path D playoffs have the chance to make their major competition debut, and I believe the fancied side will come from this semi-final (the other two sides are Georgia and Belarus).
Both nations finished third in their respective qualifying groups, just one place below the automatic qualification places, so will hope to make use of their second chance given to them via their performances in the last edition of the UEFA Nations League, to ensure they do not narrowly miss out again on a maiden European Championship appearance.
North Macedonia Team News and Form
North Macedonia come into the game on the back of a healthy start to their current Nations League campaign, winning in Skopje over Armenia, scoring two penalties and conceding one in a 2-1 win, and drawing in Tbilisi with Georgia. This comes after a very impressive third place finish in their Euro 2020 qualifying group last year, just not enough to leapfrog Poland and Austria who took the automatic spots in Group G.
Star man Elif Elmas has been ruled out for North Macedonia after testing positive for COVID-19, but captain Goran Pandev has been allowed to leave Italy to join up with the squad despite a cluster of cases at his club side Genoa. Ezgjan Alioski of Leeds and Stefan Ristovski of Sporting Lisbon are both in the squad. The full Macedonian squad can be found here.
Kosovo Team News and Form
After going on one of the longest unbeaten records in international football, Kosovo’s 5-3 defeat away to England last year has seen them lose form, picking up just one draw and four losses from their last five. Their magical streak, though, spanned 15 matches over 22 months, including wins over Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Albania, plus draws with Denmark and Montenegro.
Kosovo will be without their star man, Milot Rashica of Werder Bremen, through injury but Vedat Muriqi of Lazio is in the squad, however, he remains doubtful. Elmas’ teammate at Napoli, Amir Rrahmani, cannot join up with the squad due to the isolation procedures taking place among the Napoli squad. The full Kosovo squad can be found here.
North Macedonia Last 5 Matches:
- Georgia (A) 1-1 Nations League draw
- Armenia (H) 2-1 Nations League win
- Israel (H) 1-0 EURO Qualifier win
- Austria (A) 2-1 EURO Qualifier loss
- Poland (A) 2-0 EURO Qualifier loss
Kosovo Last 5 Matches:
- Greece (H) 1-2 Nations League loss
- Moldova (A) 1-1 Nations League draw
- England (H) 0-4 EURO Qualifier loss
- Czech Republic (A) 2-1 EURO Qualifier loss
- Montenegro (H) 2-0 EURO Qualifier win
North Macedonia Top Scorers
Goran Pandev (28 International Goals) – A former Champions League winner with Inter, Pandev is now in the twilight of his career at 37, but still features regularly in Serie A for Genoa as well as captaining his national side, for who he is both the all-time record cap holder and top scorer.
Aleksandar Trajkovski (15 International Goals) – After making his international debut at 18, Trajkovski is one of the highest capped players for his country. Deployed usually as a winger or a striker, he has a decent return, with 15 goals in 53 caps.
Kosovo Top Scorers
Vedat Muriqi (8 International Goals) – The six foot four target man is Kosovo’s leading scorer in their albeit brief existence as a FIFA member, but the new Lazio man enjoyed a clinical six year spell in Turkey with four clubs, including Fenerbahce.
Arber Zeneli (7 International Goals) – The Swedish-born winger declined the chance to represent his nation of birth, despite being capped at youth level, and opted to choose Kosovo when they were given FIFA membership and he has an impressive scoring record, netting seven in his 17 caps.
- Neither side has ever played at a major tournament before.
- Up until 1992, both nations participated under Yugoslavia.
- Kosovo did not play a competitive match as an independent nation until 2016.
- Only two of the Macedonian squad play in their domestic league, while none of the Kosovar roster play in Kosovo.
These sides are meeting for the first time.
Andrew’s Betting Tips
A bet that looks a certain banker here is under 3.5 goals scored. The game has an enormous amount at stake, so expect both sides to be cautious in the early stages. Also, in the last eight North Macedonia matches, and in seven of the last nine Kosovo games, there have been under 3.5 goals. Back it here at 1/5 with Mark Jarvis.
Kosovo are really out of form of late, their draw with Moldova in the Nations League last month is the only game they haven’t lost in five, and it was a match they expected to win. North Macedonia have shown promising signs coming into this one, with four points taken in the Nations League already, and they have lost just two of their previous eight matches, both against much tougher opponents. North Macedonia to win in 90 mins is 6/4* with Mark Jarvis.
Kosovo have scored just three goals in their last five matches and with Rashica already ruled out and their top scorer Muriqi a doubt, they may struggle to find any potency in attack. Despite conceding in both games last month, both the goals North Macedonia shipped were penalties, if they can cut out fouls in the box they have a good chance of keeping Kosovo at bay. North Macedonia to keep a clean sheet is priced at 6/4*
*Odds as of the time of writing (Friday 2nd October 2020) are subject to change.
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