Tuesday night’s football acca includes Scotland vs England at Hampden Park plus several Euro 2024 qualifiers.
After their journey as an international team began in 1993, North Macedonia gradually rose up the FIFA World Rankings. Their highest position was 46th in October 2008. No milestone they have achieved in the past can compare, however, to the feat of qualifying for Euro 2020.
Establishment of North Macedonia national team
Darko Pancev, who played for Inter Milan at the time, was a star in the initial North Macedonia team. Previously, he had played for Yugoslavia.
North Macedonia were drawn into a qualifying group for UEFA Euro 1996 with Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Cyprus and Armenia. They finished fourth in the group with seven points and missed out on the tournament.
On November 9, 1996, during qualifying for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, Macedonia recorded their biggest win, an 11-1 thrashing of Liechtenstein. They also beat Liechtenstein 3-0 in a previous fixture during qualifiers for that tournament and also recorded a 3-2 home victory over the Republic of Ireland. However, they finished fourth in their group on 13 points and failed to qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
In UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying, North Macedonia once again finished fourth in their group with eight points and failed to qualify for the finals. Their most notable result during this campaign was a 1-1 draw with Croatia, who had only recently made the semi-finals of the 1998 FIFA World Cup.
In qualifying for Euro 2004, they once again finished fourth, but on their way, they picked up a highly impressive 2-2 draw with England.
Macedonia drew home and away to the Netherlands in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but a 1-0 defeat to minnows Andorra and other disappointing results meant they finished fifth in their group and missed out on the finals by some distance.
Katanec saw his contract extended for two years and led Macedonia into the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. After draws in friendlies against Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Poland and a 1-0 qualifying win over Scotland, Macedonia moved up to 46th in the FIFA World Rankings.
Fall and resurgence
Euro 2020 qualification
North Macedonia celebrated their most famous victory in March 2021 when they beat Germany 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier and went into the delayed Euros in good spirits.
However, they bowed out at the group stage following defeats to Austria, Ukraine and Netherlands.
The tournament also marked the end of the road for a second time for Pandev who was given a guard of honour by his team-mates after being substituted in their final game, a 3-0 defeat to Netherlands.
North Macedonia legends
Goran Pandev remains the most iconic player in North Macedonian soccer history. The forward has had a stellar career in Italy, most notably shining for clubs such as Inter Milan, Napoli and Lazio. Currently, he plays for Genoa.