Italy will take on the Macedonian national team in Palermo on Thursday evening, 24 March in the first leg of their 2022 World Cup qualifier. The hosts should have no problems and will go through to the next round with confidence. Full statistics and all current odds for the match can be found at promo code for 1xbet registration.
The Italian national side finished just second in their qualifying group, losing out to Switzerland in the direct qualifying for Stade de Qatar. Roberto Mancini’s side have amassed 16 points in 8 games. The team started the spring part of qualification well, winning 3 victories out of 3. Then, at the Euros, the Italians were victorious without a single defeat, beating England at Wembley in the final thanks to a Bonucci goal and a Donnarumma save in the penalty shoot-out.
The players’ emotions were probably too much at the continental championships – the team from the south of Europe were already beside themselves in September, first drawing twice in the World Cup qualifiers (Bulgaria and Switzerland) (1,2), then leaving the Nations League play-offs after losing the semi-finals to Spain (1:2). Two further draws (at home to Switzerland and away to Northern Ireland) were the apotheosis, with the Bilo-Syni slipping to second place in the group. Needless to say, if the Italians missed out on a second successive World Cup, they would be disappointed…
The visitors were second in their qualifying group, scoring 18 points in 10 games. The Romanians and Icelanders were left behind, and the first place was predictably taken by the national team of Germany. The Macedonians started the qualifying campaign with a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Romania, before sensationally beating the Germans away (1-2) (2,Russ.). The Red-Yellows took part in the Euros in the summer, where they failed to make the cut (3 defeats and 0 points). September’s qualifying resumed with three draws (against Romania, Iceland and Armenia), followed by victories over Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland.
After the end of the continental championship, long-time national team leader Goran Pandev announced his retirement. Another thing that continues to overshadow Ivan Angelovski’s side is key defender Kostadinov and Napoli midfielder Elif Elmas, who are both suspended.
The teams met each other in qualifying for last year’s Mundial: in 2016, the Italians defeated their opponents away 2-3, while the Apennines recorded a 1-1 draw.
Italy vs North Macedonia
In this pairing, the favourite is clear, and there is no doubt to believe that the reigning European champions will falter on home soil. The Macedonians in the qualifying group, with the exception of a sensational and undeserved win over the Germans, have only beaten opponents of their own or lower level. The Italians are much higher class, play with the support of their fans, and intend to get to Qatar in the autumn by all means. Our prediction is for the home side to win with a -1.5 handicap.