Gibraltar and Euro 2020 finalists North Macedonia meet at Victoria Stadium on Sunday, both looking for their first win of the new UEFA Nations League season.
While the hosts were soundly defeated in their inaugural League C Group 4 match, their guests earned a point in a group that also included Georgia and Bulgaria.
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Gibraltar vs North Macedonia Betting odds
Gibraltar vs North Macedonia Tips and Prediction
North Macedonia’s history-makers regrouped at the end of May for another try at promotion in the Nations League after narrowly losing out on a place at their second consecutive major finals and earning their first-ever appearance at the World Cup.
After losing to Portugal in their Qatar 2022 playoff two months ago, the Macedonians were unable to produce another shock result to add to their recent victories over international heavyweights Germany and Italy – the latter ending the European champions’ hopes of qualifying for the World Cup this winter.
Blagoja Milevski’s side salvaged a 1-1 draw in Razgrad on Thursday, coming from behind to earn a point in the first of four games in the Nations League’s 2022-23 season.
North Macedonia are aiming to move up a tier in Europe’s newest international competition, after promotion from League D in the inaugural tournament was followed by a solid second-place finish in 2020. They will host Georgia and Gibraltar in the coming week.
Indeed, in the final match of their previous League C season, the Balkan nation nearly lost out on promotion, as Armenia gained promotion at their expense by prevailing 1-0 in a final-day decider. While Milan Ristovski’s second-half equalizer saved the Lions from a painful defeat in Bulgaria on Thursday, they will be anxious to move closer to League B classification by taking advantage of a match against more modest opponents.
Gibraltar return to the Rock this weekend after suffering their fifth consecutive defeat on the road, desperate for points in their bid to avoid relegation back to League D.
Los Llanis were promoted to the Nations League’s third tier after going undefeated against fellow minnows Liechtenstein and San Marino during the 2020 edition. They won two games and drew two, but the going will be tougher in the current campaign.
In a 4-0 thrashing in the Georgian city of Tblisi on Thursday, Julio Cesar Ribas’ side surrendered the majority of possession and managed only one shot on goal in 90 minutes.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who is on his way to Napoli, scored first, but it was only the late goals that gave the final tally such a comprehensive look.
Gibraltar are well aware of their lowly position in the pecking order, having failed to qualify for this winter’s World Cup as one of only two European nations to lose all ten of their qualifiers. They have, however, come a long way since their acceptance into the international fold in 2013.
When pitted against the lesser lights of football on home soil, Gibraltar often puts up a spirited fight and has recently posted some remarkable results. The opponents on Sunday, on the other hand, are a step up in class.
North Macedonia can score multiple goals and coast to victory at the foot of the Rock, thanks to a smattering of players with experience in Europe’s best divisions.