Euro Betting: Austria vs North Macedonia 13 June
Group Stage | Group C | Bucharest
The Group C opener brings Austria and Euro debutants, North Macedonia. The ‘North’ in their name may make them sound like a new nation, but this is still the very same South-Eastern European nation we are all familiar with, just that the ‘North’ was newly added in 2019.
Part of a group that also includes Netherlands and Ukraine, the Austrians and North Macedonians, whilst not fancied, will be hoping to defy that wisdom and be potential surprise packages. Both sides were actually part of the same qualifying group, with Austria finishing second behind Poland, but five points ahead of North Macedonia, who they beat twice.
Continuing their pattern of thriving off ‘new-ness’, North Macedonia qualified via the inaugural Nations League and subsequently beating Kosovo 2-1 in the play-off semi-final, then Georgia 1-0 in the final to confirm their maiden qualification for a Euro tournament.
Squads & Line-ups
Although neither side has an abundance of global household names, both nations do have players with enough ability to harm each other’s chances of success. The Austrians are blessed with players who ply their trade in the Bundesliga, including Bayern Munich’s David Alaba. And there is also ex-West Ham forward, Marko Arnautovic, who scored a winner against this game’s opponents during qualifying.
For North Macedonia, their players may be largely unknown to most fans, but they do have a number of players with good European football pedigree. From Leeds defender, Ezdzan Alioski, to Napoli and Stuttgart’s Eljif Elmas and Darko Curlinov respectively. They will also be looking to Ivan Trickovski, who has been one of the highest scorers in this year’s Europa League. Unfortunately for North Macedonia, a big loss for them will be felt in the absence of Ilija Nestorovski, who will miss the tournament with a knee injury.
Prior to their Euro qualification campaigns, these sides had never met before. As mentioned above, Austria were victorious in both qualifiers; the first game was won convincingly, with two-goal show from Marko Arnautovic in a 4-1 away victory.
In the Austria return leg, the home nation edged a narrow 1-0 victory that sealed their spot in Euro 2020. As we now know, the North Macedonians had to wait and work a little longer via the Nations League and play-offs.
This month will be Austria’s third Euros participation out of the past four editions, and they will be hoping it will be third time lucky to reach the knockout stages for the first time.
As we know, like Finland, North Macedonia will be making their first Euros bow, and will be itching to make their mark on the grandest of occasions.
So in a fixture between two sides largely unfancied, who do you fancy?