Must Win Match for Italy
North Macedonia have the distinction of being the Euro team that knocked Italy out of 2022 World Cup contention. Now, they can play their part in bouncing Italy from Euro 2024. Italy won Euro 2020 but they are at risk of missing out on defending their title. With a game in hand over second-placed Ukraine, Italy are three points behind them in Group C. In this must-win match for the Azzurri, let’s take a look at the Italy vs North Macedonia betting odds.
⚽ Italy vs North Macedonia ⚽
Location: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
North Macedonia have managed to grab some impressive results vs Italy in the past few years. On September’s UEFA schedule, Enis Bardhi scored North Macedonia’s equalizer in a 1-1 draw vs Italy in Skopje. Last March, North Macedonia stunningly knocked out Italy from the World Cup playoffs as Aleksandr Trajkovski scored the game’s only goal. Trajkovski also scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw in 2017 which meant Italy didn’t automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Italy’s only win over North Macedonia was a 3-2 result in 2016. The all-time series is tied at one, with two draws.
Up and Down Campaign for Italy
Four points in Italy’s next two games will be enough for them to go through to Euro 2024. They take on North Macedonia on Friday before heading to Germany on Monday for an all-important match vs Ukraine. Should Italy fail to finish in the top two of the Group C UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying standings, they’ll advance to the playoff. With their underperformance in recent playoff appearances, they’ll want to take care of business early.
The Azzurri’s qualifying campaign has been up and down. They’ve lost twice to England, including a 3-1 defeat at Wembley Stadium last month. A draw at North Macedonia was also a low point, but they’ve won their other three matches. Gianluca Scamacca did score his first national team goal in the loss vs England and he could play an important role here with Ciro Immobile not in the squad. Expect Federico Chiesa and Domenico Berardi to play on either side of Scamacca.
The Italy vs North Macedonia betting odds list Italy as massive -715 favorites but bettors should take those odds with a grain of salt. Note that midfielders Lorenzo Pellegrini and Manuel Locatelli are out injured, while Sandro Tonali is banned through the Summer. That makes rising star Davide Frattesi more important for coach Luciano Spalletti. Spalletti is playing no games at the back and called up mostly experienced players to get the job done.
North Macedonia Looking to Play Spoiler Again
North Macedonia are eliminated from Euro 2024 contention and have just a 2-1-3 record in qualifiers. However, they can play spoiler here, a role they’ve often fulfilled vs Italy. They haven’t been a good pick for soccer betting during their qualifying campaign, as their only wins have come vs. Malta.
Aleksandr Trajkovski, who has scored two massive goals vs. Italy in the past, is in the squad here. North Macedonia’s key players are Elif Elmas and Enis Bardhi, though. Italy will be familiar with Elmas, who won Serie A under current Azzurri manager Spalletti last season. Elmas leads North Macedonia in qualifiers, with three goals.
Meanwhile, Bardhi typically pulls the strings from the attacking midfield position. He’s scored twice and provided three assists in six appearances. North Macedonia did fall 7-0 to England back in June but have been highly competitive otherwise.
Match Analysis & Odds
Italy have scored just twice vs North Macedonia in their last three meetings. Getting out to an early lead and piling on the goals is going to be key for Italy. They don’t want to leave North Macedonia hanging around, as the Azzurri know what they’re capable of. The Italy vs North Macedonia betting odds currently list Italy -2, -2.5 at even odds.
The Azzurri have never defeated North Macedonia by more than a one-goal margin but this would be a perfect time to do so. Spalletti needs his team to build some momentum heading into Monday’s decider vs Ukraine. Bettors who believe the visitors can keep things close vs Italy once again may want to take North Macedonia +2, +2.5 at -130 odds for this one.
North Macedonia are +1600 underdogs but they won on Italian soil last March. It would be very Italy-like to draw this match and leave everything up to the last game vs Ukraine. A deadlock is priced at +700 odds and it would be the third in the last four matches between the sides. Under three goals sit at -190 odds as a shootout certainly isn’t expected.