FYR Macedonia vs Italy by Enzo
Two rounds into the new qualifying path and FYR Macedonia has already lost two matches against opponents they couldn't afford to lose, simply because the group seems to be really strong with Italy and Spain being complete favorites for first two positions.
However, FYR Macedonia suffered a defeat in the opening game against Albania on the road, but also left the field with empty hands on Thursday evening when they lost narrowly to Israel at home following 1:2 result. Israelis somehow showed much more of fighting spirit and deservedly celebrated in the end, thanks to goals from Hemed in 25th and Ben Haim in 43rd minute. Hosts tried to respond in the second half and had their chances, reducing the deficit in 63rd via Nesterovski, while they even missed a penalty kick in the very same end of the match.
Overall, needs to be said that the home team made more good chances, however Israelis did what was needed and acted more smart on the field overall. It was third consecutive defeat for them, as they now face up against Italy having nothing to lose, since the atmosphere is far away from ideal in their national team long time ago. Important central defender Shikov (50/4) is out for this game, as well as midfielders Ibraimi (39/7), Gligorov (25/0), forwards Kostovski (13/2) and Trajkovski (31/8) all due injuries.
Italy walked away with pretty professional victory back in early September when they visited Israel 3:1, but the team didn't manage to further impress at home against Spain few days ago.
It must be said that the Spaniards were actually better during the match and have deserved more being way more concrete in offense. They even took the lead in 55th minute via Vitolo, but the Italians were lucky to level up the result from the penalty kick in 82nd minute. Only a point in a home match against Spain now means that the Italians need to seek for a victory here. Italy is missing central defender Chiellini (90/7), Ranocchia (21/0), midfielders Giaccherini (29/4), Motta (30/1), El Shaarawy (20/3) and forwards Insigne (12/2) and Zaza (14/1).
Italians didn't have a bit more luck in order to do even more at Euro, but are determined to go into this match and get the three pointer easily. There is huge quality difference between two sides and the Italians will need to be just close to a decent performance in order to prove it.