Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Nations League clash between North Macedonia and Gibraltar, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
After a crushing home defeat midweek North Macedonia will try to close the gap to the top spot in theirs UEFA Nations League group as they accommodate outsiders Gibraltar On Sunday.
The sides meet for the second time in a week, this time at Tose Proeski National Arena in Skopje, with three more points in Group 4 of League C at stake.
After picking up four points in the first two games of a packed summer program in the Nations League, North Macedonia welcomed Group 4 leaders Georgia with some confidence to Skopje on Thursday.
After a scoreless first half, however, the 52nd-minute goal triggered a kind of meltdown Blagoya Milevski, who ended up suffering a surprising 3-0 home defeat; are five points behind their opponents in the race for promotion to the B-League.
Expectations have risen since the Balkan nation made it to Euro 2020, celebrating an infamous World Cup qualifier in Germany and eliminating European champions Italy in the Qatar 2022 play-offs earlier this year.
Despite losing to Portugal in the ensuing decider, hopes were high when the Lions returned to competition last week, but results have been mixed during their trio of Nations League games this month.
A 1-1 draw in Bulgaria was followed by a 2-0 win against their opponents in Gibraltar this Sunday, but after midweek’s setback Milevski’s men now have enough to face modest competition at home to prove.
Gibraltar, who were badly beaten by hosts Georgia in their opening game in Group 4 of League C, may have been slow to adjust to life in Europe’s third division this summer but showed significant progress as they finished 1st on Thursday : 1 draw against Bulgaria came .
Los Llanis, who rose to the third division of the Nations League unbeaten against compatriots Liechtenstein and San Marino in the 2020/21 season, recorded two wins and two draws in the process but have inevitably found it more difficult this season.
Their first two games ended pointless and goalless for the Minnows after last weekend’s home defeat by North Macedonia, but with a point clear of the Bulgarians they remain in touch with third place – a position that will ultimately see them afloat in League C would hold .
The team coached by the Uruguayan coach Julio Cesar Ribas Now take on one of their toughest challenges of the 2022-23 competition, and as one of just two European nations to have lost all 10 of their World Cup qualifiers en route to this winter’s finals, they’ll head East with more hope than expected to travel.
Form of North Macedonia Nations League:
Form North Macedonia (all competitions):
Form of the Gibraltar Nations League:
Form Gibraltar (all competitions):
Facing such a disappointing result against Georgia on Thursday, Blagoja Milevski could make some changes to his North Macedonia side, especially after three games in a row.
During Malmo Erdal Rakip and captain Stefan Ristowski Although both have been sidelined through injury, the hosts still have an experienced squad at their disposal in the former Leeds United player Ezgjan Alioski the current acting left-back while Aleksandar Trajkowski (79 caps, 20 goals) is expected to be up front.
Napoli talented playmaker Eljif Elmas has already won 41 international matches at the age of 22 and should start in midfield.
Meanwhile, captained Gibraltar could return to a cautious 5-4-1 formation on Sunday Roy Chipolina ready to start alongside Bernhard Lopes and Scott Wiseman in central defence.
Up front, midweek goascorers Liam Walker – who is now the nation’s top scorer with four international goals – will compete with the Stourbridge forward Reece Styche to lead the guest line, but 40 years old Lee Casciaro can keep his place instead.
North Macedonia possible starting line-up:
Dimitrievsky; Todoroski, Ristevski, Musliu, Alioski; Churlinov, Bardhi, Nikolov, Elmas; Trajkowski, Ristowski
Gibraltar possible starting line-up:
Coleing; Jolley, Chipolina, Wiseman, Lopes, Britto; Wanderer, Ronan, Annesley, Pons; Casciaro
We say: North Macedonia 3-0 Gibraltar
North Macedonia, keen to wrap up a stunning quartet of June games with a stunning win, should certainly secure maximum points at home in Skopje as their opponents often struggle outside of rock.
With a sizeable lead in terms of experience and technical prowess at the highest level, the hosts should already have clinched victory before slacking off in the closing stages.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com predict under 3.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their football best tips.Under 3.5:Data