Austria and North Macedonia will lock horns on Sunday, June 19 at Arena Națională in Bucharest, meaning neither side will enjoy much of home advantage. This will mark only their third meeting in history and their first since the EURO 2020 qualifiers when Austria won both fixtures with 4-1 and 2-1.
Austria vs North Macedonia
Where: Arena Națională in Bucharest, Romania
When: Sunday, June 13 – 19:00 EEST
Weather: Cloudy, 19°C
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
The perpetual darkhorse team with “potential to impress”, Austria will take on North Macedonia for only the third time in their history. Billed as the favourites, Das Team are expected to deliver against EURO newcomers, but given their struggles over the year, this match could easily prove to be much closer than anticipated.
North Macedonia enter their first football major tournament eager to make a name for themselves, and if their recent performances are any indication, they are in an excellent position to do precisely that.
Austria Were the Better Team During the Qualifiers
Austria and North Macedonia both qualified for EURO 2020 via Group B. Austria finished the group in second with a 6-1-3 record and received a direct invite to the tournament, whereas North Macedonia had to take the long route to their nations’ first major tournament since gaining independence in 1991.
The Austrian side will enter this match confident that they can kick off their EURO 2020 campaign with a W, having already beaten North Macedonia twice during the qualifiers. Das Team won their first meeting 4-1 in Skopje, to which they added a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture in Vienna.
Despite their strong head-to-head record against Igor Angelovski’s side, it’s important to note that these two teams haven’t met once since November 2019, and that’s a very long time. And definitely long enough for the teams to improve and change up their playstyle.
North Macedonia Looking to Make a Splash
No one expected North Macedonia to make a deep run at EURO 2020, and neither do the players. They’re happy to be here, but it’s only reasonable for Angelovski’s men to make some noise after making it so far.
One big thing we can take from North Macedonia’s side is their improvement since their last meeting with Austria. They’re by no means world-beaters, but the Lions have put together a few impressive showings over the year.
North Macedonia enter this match without a loss in their last four. That run includes three victories and one draw against Slovenia (1-1), Lichenstein (5-0), Kazakhstan (4-0), and Germany (2-1).
Much of North Macedonia’s success in this tournament will depend on the performances of Goran Pandev and Napoli’s Elif Elmas in the midfield. Even in other areas, the Lions field serviceable quality, including defenders Visar Musliu, Stefan Ristovski, and Darko Velkovski, and we shouldn’t forget to mention Mallorca’s striker Aleksander Trajkovski.
Austria vs North Macedonia Betting Picks
Austria won their last head-to-head meetings with North Macedonia, but that won’t guarantee them success this time out. The Lions have shown immense growth over the years and are definitely in better shape than Das Team, who have managed only one win in their last six outings.
Even that sole victory came against Fraore Islands (3-1), while Austria struggled to deliver against Scotland (2-2), Denmark (0-4), England (0-1), Slovakia (0-0), and Norway (1-1).
Austria have long been regarded as a darkhorse that “could impress”, and despite their numerous failed attempts to live up to the expectations, the tag seems to stick with them. Austria are a bit overrated at the offered odds, so we’re happy to take North Macedonia to at least force a draw this evening.
Prediction: North Macedonia +0.50 Asian Handicap – 2.18 at Pinnacle
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