Euro qualifiers: North Macedonia beat England
Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia, 20 November 2023 (AFP): England narrowly avoided the embarrassment of defeat by North Macedonia. Gareth Southgate’s men saved any quality by drawing 1-1 with Macedonia in the Euro 2024 qualifying match held in Skopje yesterday.
England fell behind in the first half with Ennis Bardi’s goal. The host star scored from the penalty in the 41st minute. Jani Atanasov’s own goal in the second half (59 minutes) of the match played at the Tose Preysky Arena brought the visitors back on level terms.
England secured Euro 2024 as the top team from Group C in this draw. In the group stage, they won six matches along with two draws. As a result, the English will be the first team in the draw pots like hosts Germany, Portugal, France, Spain and Belgium. Due to this, these teams will be favored as group favorites. The draw of the tournament will be held on December 2.
But regardless of the opposition, Southgate knows the squad needs some significant improvements if they are to play as tournament favourites. The English coach said, ‘I thought there would be a great mentality among the players as they have already reached the finals. But the quality of play was good on a tough pitch. It was difficult to just pass and finish at the end.’
Failure to win against 66th-ranked Macedonia means injury-hit England have fallen behind.