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Veteran Pandev to lead underdog North Macedonia at Euros

Skopje (Republic of North Macedonia) (AFP) – Debutants North Macedonia will be led at Euro 2020 by veteran attacker Goran Pandev, coach Igor Angelovski said in naming his 26-men squad on Thursday.

Angelovski said the minnows would not be satisfied with a bit part in the competition, which was delayed from last year.

“We are aware of our quality and we know the quality of the European championship. The goal that I have set is to fight for qualifying for the next round,” Angelovski said.

The team will face Austria on June 13 in Bucharest in North Macedonia’s first ever match in the competition, followed by games against Ukraine and The Netherlands.

Angelovski is seeking inspiration from his side’s shock 2-1 victory over Germany in March, which he said showed that they could match the best.

“In order to do that we must play on our highest level,” Angelovski said.

The 37-year-old captain Pandev led the team through qualifying and scored the goal that sealed their place in the finals against Georgia last November.

Alongside all-time top scorer Pandev of Genoa, North Macedonia’s squad includes the creativity of midfielder Enis Bardhi of Levante and winger Eljif Elmas of Napoli.

Coach Angelovski will miss injured forward Ilija Nestorovski but added youngsters Darko Curlinov and goalkeeper Riste Jankov, as well as uncapped Milan Ristovski.

North Macedonia squad

Goalkeepers: Stole Dimitrievski (Rayo Vallecano, ESP), Damjan Siskovski (Doxa, CYP), Riste Jankov (Rabotnicki).

Defenders: Stefan Ristovski (Dinamo Zagreb, CRO), Visar Musliu (MOL Fehervar, HUN), Egzon Bejtulai (Shkendija), Kire Ristevski (Ujpest, HUN), Gjoko Zajkov (Charleroi, BEL), Darko Velkovski (Rijeka, CRO), Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds, ENG).

Midfielders: Arijan Ademi (Dinamo Zagreb, CRO), Enis Bardhi (Levante, ESP), Stefan Spirovski (AEK Larnaca, CYP), Boban Nikolov (Lecce, ITA), Tihomir Kostadinov (Ruzomberok, SVK), Ferhan Hasani (Partizani, ALB), Eljif Elmas (Napoli, ITA), Daniel Avramovski (Kayserispor, TUR), Darko Curlinov (Stutgart, GER), Marjan Radeski (Akademija Pandev).

Forwards: Goran Pandev (Genoa, ITA), Aleksandar Trajkovski (Mallorka, ESP), Ivan Trickovski (AEK Larnaca, CYP), Vlatko Stojanovski (Chambly, FRA), Krste Velkovski (Sarajevo, BIH), Milan Ristovski (Spartak Trnava, SVK).

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