Kick-off: 1945, 20/11/2023
Stadium: National Arena Tose Proeski
TV: Channel 4
England need just a point from their final qualifier against North Macedonia to ensure a seeded position at Euro 2024.
Gareth Southgate’s side made it six wins from seven Group C games with a lacklustre 2-0 victory over Malta at Wembley on Friday night.
Southgate will expect an improved performance in Skopje so England to be leading at half-time and full-time at 11/20 is our opening North Macedonia vs England prediction.
No concerns about attitude for Southgate
Southgate said England’s players fell short of the standards they “need to be at” against Malta but had no concerns about their attitude and aptitude ahead of next summer’s tournament.
Nobody at Wembley expected anything other than a victory from the side ranked fourth in the world against the one nestled between Fiji and Bermuda in 171st.
But already-qualified England made hard work of a straightforward assignment, with Enrico Pepe’s own goal giving the hosts a lead in a first half in which they failed to muster a single shot on target.
Harry Kane added another after a rare moment of quality interplay in the second half as Southgate’s side limped to a 2-0 victory that all-but assures their place among the top seeds at next month’s Euro 2024 draw.
“We didn’t start the game well,” the England boss said. “I’ve been in football for 35 years and if you don’t start well, it’s really difficult to pick it up.
“We needed, of course, to show better quality with the ball but also we were a bit stretched without it and a little bit disjointed in our pressing at times.
“We were not the level we would want to be at. We were not the level that we need to be at.
“But, equally, this group of players have been exceptional and I’m not going to start getting into their ribs too much about a performance like tonight.
“We made a few changes, we didn’t hit the levels we would have liked to have but they managed to win the game.
“Not in the style we’d have liked for the supporters but, in the end, we’ve won comfortably, as we should.”
England thrashed North Macedonia 7-0 when they met at Old Trafford in June and, looking at the 77/100 appeals.
Positives for Southgate
England now head to Skopje to complete their Euro 2024 qualification campaign against North Macedonia as preparations continue for next summer.
Glory in Germany is the sole focus and Southgate dismissed the suggestion his players taking their foot off the gas at home to Malta was a worrying sign.
“No, it’s not a worry because I think sometimes when players have so many matches they almost self-regulate,” Southgate said.
“I’ve been a player. You know there’s a certain level you need to hit to beat Italy here and you know you don’t have to hit that level to win today’s game.
“Although you would think that everybody would be at the same level all the time, that’s not the reality of football.
“I’ve played in those matches myself and there are nights where subconsciously you just do enough to win and I think that’s a little bit where we were tonight.”
England were below par for the most part on Friday but Southgate still saw things he liked in their final home match of an unbeaten year.
“We scored a lovely second goal and I think there were some individual performances that were very positive,” he added.
“I thought Trent (Alexander-Arnold) was very, very good (in midfield). Him and Phil (Foden) in the first half were the two that looked like opening things up.
“I thought Marc Guehi had a very mature performance again. He’s really growing as an international footballer.
“It was lovely to get Cole Palmer on and give him a feel of things and I thought he looked really very comfortable in the environment.”
Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku have scored more goals than Kane’s eight during the qualifying campaign.
The Bayern Munich striker bagged a brace in the home fixture in June and he is 8/13 to net at any time.
Furthermore, you can get odds of 15/8 for Kane to be England’s first goalscorer as we complete our North Macedonia vs England betting tips.
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