Italy vs North Macedonia preview
In the ninth round of the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying tournament, the national teams of Italy and North Macedonia will face each other. The match is scheduled for Friday, November 17, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
The defeat of the Italians by England in October (1-3) has left the Squadra Azzurra forced to conclude the tournament in a tense atmosphere. Ukraine currently holds the second position in Group C, leading Italy by three points with an additional game in hand. If Luciano Spalletti's team fails to secure a home victory against North Macedonia, Italy will find itself in a challenging position going into the final match of the qualifying tournament. A draw in the match would be sufficient for Ukraine to eliminate Italy's chances of participating in Euro 2024.
Bookmakers almost do not believe in any other outcome than a victory for the hosts. Judging by the Italy vs North Macedonia odds, their success is evaluated with odds around 1.10-1.18, while the odds for the guests' victory range from 19.90 to 20.20. Bookmakers also doubt the possibility of a draw (8.00-8.10).
Let's assess the form of both teams and choose the most reliable Italy vs North Macedonia tips.
After the defeat to England, the last two matches in the qualifying tournament for the Italians will be conducted under the slogan "all or nothing". Failing to qualify for UEFA Euro 2024 as the defending champion would be a true embarrassment, and it's unlikely that any player from the Squadra Azzurra wants this failure to be associated with them.
The only home defeat for the Italians in the current qualifying tournament came against the English (1-2), after which the team secured two victories against Ukraine (2-1) and Malta (4-0).
Matches involving Italy in this qualification have been high-scoring affairs, with at least three goals scored in four out of six games.
North Macedonia preview
The team is no longer pursuing any objectives and calmly completes this qualifying tournament. We can assume that they have achieved their minimum goal — not finishing last, securing two wins over Malta (2-0 and 2-1). Meanwhile, North Macedonia can take pride in their home draw against Italy (1-1), which was arguably the most sensational result in this group.
In three away matches in the current qualification, North Macedonia defeated Malta (2-0), lost to Ukraine (0-2), and suffered a heavy defeat to England (0-7). As we can see, the team managed to score only against a lower-level opponent on the road.
Betting tips Italy vs North Macedonia
The Italians have a long-standing beef with North Macedonia, and for some reason the title-winning team is constantly having trouble against a not-so-great opponent. In the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers, Italy initially struggled to secure a 3-2 victory, snatching the win in the final minutes, and later played to a 1-1 draw in Turin. However, the most painful defeat occurred in 2022, when the Italians lost 0-1 in the playoff match, failing to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022. Now, North Macedonia has the potential to once again dampen the spirits of the Italians ahead of UEFA Euro 2024.
Statistics can be stubborn, but despite all the heroics of the Macedonians, we don't believe they will manage to disappoint the favourite this time. However, we also don't expect a crushing score: it seems that bookmakers might be underestimating the defence of the visitors. In the current qualifiers, North Macedonia suffered a significant defeat only once — in a bizarre match against England (0-7). Therefore, for the Italy vs North Macedonia prediction, we suggest betting on a positive handicap on the underdog. Our tip for this game is North Macedonia +2.5 at 1.68.