Italy take on the visitors North Macedonia in the round 9 match of group stage of UEFA Euro-2024 qualification. The match will be played on Friday, November 17th at Stadio Olimpico (Rome).
Italy still hasn't qualified for the Euro. At the end of the summer, the "Squadra Azzurra" was left without a coach, as Mancini left on his own, essentially fleeing for money to Saudi Arabia. On the one hand, under Roberto, the Italians primarily won the Euro and topped their group in the 2022 Nations League. On the other hand, in the World Cup qualification, the continental titleholder conceded the group leadership to Switzerland. They ended the playoffs losing to Macedonia at home. There have been several setbacks this year. The new qualification started at home with a loss to England, and in the summer, they lost to Spain in the Nations League "final four." However, the current coach, Spalletti, has achieved contrasting results. Under him, the team defeated the main competitor, Ukraine, and crushed Malta. However, Luciano debuted with a draw in Skopje, and in October, they lost to the not particularly motivated English, slipping to 3rd place. Let's not forget the betting scandal, which left several talented players off the list.
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North Macedonia have achieved decent success in recent years, winning their Nations League group at the Division D level and earning the right to play in the Euro. They secured 2nd place in a group with a victory over Germany and then defeated Italy in the playoffs on Italian soil. However, the debutant lost all three matches at the Euro and was denied entry to the World Cup by Portugal. In the current qualification, the team won against the expected weaker opponent Malta. They led by two goals against Ukraine at home, but Ukraine made a comeback in the second half, and they won 2-0 in their nominal home game against "The Yellow-Reds." The English even defeated Blagoi Milevski's team 7-0. Only against the Italians, they slowed down "by old memory," securing a 1-1 draw with a goal from Bardi in the 81st minute.
A total of 4 matches have been played, and there is parity: 1 win each (starting with Italy's victory in 2016) and a couple of draws. The hosts are considered clear favorites, but they need a result. However, they will face Ukraine in the next match, which will be crucial in any case. So, we expect "under 3.0 goals" in total.
Prediction for the match: Under 3.0 scored goals.