North Macedonia 1-1 England - UEFA European Qualifier match centre
- E. Bardhi (41′)
- E. Elmas (17′)
- E. Bardhi (41′ MISSED PEN)
- J. Atanasov (59′OG)
- R. Lewis (40′)
- T. Alexander-Arnold (56′)
The Three Lions had to settle for a point in their final UEFA EURO 2024 qualifier in Skopje
Highlights: North Macedonia 1-1 England
See the best of the action from Skopje as the Three Lions finish EURO 2024 qualifying with a draw
North Macedonia v England
UEFA European Qualifier
7.45pm GMT, Monday 20 November 2023
Live on Channel 4
Tose Proeski Arena, Skopje
Declan Rice says the England players ‘want to go out of this year with a bang’ against North Macedonia on Monday night.
The Three Lions are unbeaten since just being edged out of the FIFA World Cup last year by finalists France and have already secured their place in next summer’s UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany.
Despite making it eight wins in nine matches in 2023 with a 2-0 win over Malta on Friday night, both Rice and his manager Gareth Southgate recognised the performance was below par and are expecting an improved display in North Macedonia.
Rice said: “Look, we know how good they are. Even though we won quite big in Manchester (7-0), we knew before the game some of the quality they have on the pitch and some of the star players they have.
“We were wary of that and we will be wary of that again tomorrow night, especially after the other night against Malta – just a bit of pride in ourselves that we need to raise the level, we need to put out a statement and it'll be a good way to end the year.
“We are currently unbeaten since the World Cup, so it's down to us to go out tomorrow night and put on a performance. I feel like we have to be mentally prepared, have the right mentality, be ready for a hostile environment and make sure that we go out of this year with a bang.
“So tomorrow night we'll be ready for whatever they throw at us.”
It was a sentiment echoed by his boss Southgate, who was sitting next to him for the pre-match press conference.
He said: “We weren't at the level of performance that we wanted on Friday so we are all focused on tomorrow's game.
“We play a team who, although they can't qualify, have tremendous pride and they'll be wounded by what happened in Manchester [when England won 7-0], so we have to be ready for a really good, really good atmosphere and a full stadium.
“We've had a calendar year where we've been very good, so we want to finish well.”
Both Jarrod Bowen and Kieran Trippier didn’t travel with the England squad to North Macedonia due to injury and a personal matter.
With Trippier, Ben Chilwell, Levi Colwill and Luke Shaw all currently out injured, Southgate was asked ‘what he was thinking’ when it came to left-backs for this game by one of the journalists in attendance.
He replied: “That we need to adapt and that we have a couple of different options. We are comfortable with it and that we can find a good solution to the issue.
“We haven't got somebody that is playing there regularly, but we've adapted to lots of situations over the last few years and we're comfortable with doing that again tomorrow.”
When asked if a change of formation was the solution, he continued: “We have done it a little bit on personnel going back a few years so yes, it is an option.
“We've obviously got players that have played as wing-backs and we can adjust.
“[But] Fikayo Tomori [played at left-back] the other day, we have Rico Lewis, Mark Guehi can play across there and has done it before, so it's just a case of making sure that everybody's aware of their job changes and the way you build up patterns and those sorts of things. We're comfortable with the situation we’re in.”
England have secured top spot in Group C, with the Three Lions six points clear of Italy and Ukraine and only one game remaining.
But Southgate is keen to see a much-improved performance compared to the display against Malta at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Friday night.
“Performance is the priority,” Southgate said. “We didn’t reach that standard on Friday. We have to get back to what we're good at.
“There's always a chance within that to have a look at a couple of things that we'd like to see as well but the biggest thing is making sure we hit the level of performance that we've set ourselves this year.”
Keys facts ahead of North Macedonia versus England
- North Macedonia are winless in five international meetings with England (D2 L3), losing 7-0 against the Three Lions in June in the most recent encounter.
- England have won both of their previous away games against North Macedonia, 2-1 in September 2003 with Wayne Rooney and David Beckham goals, and 1-0 in September 2006 thanks to a Peter Crouch winner.
- North Macedonia have won just one of their last six European Championship qualifiers (D1 L4), conceding 17 goals across those four defeats.
- Since drawing 0-0 at Israel back in March 2007, England have scored in 19 consecutive away European Championship qualifiers, the longest run of any nation in qualifying history. They have netted 55 goals in those games, an average of 2.9 per game.
- England have won eight of their last nine games in all competitions (D1) since losing against France in the 2022 World Cup. Victory here would mean their highest-ever win rate across a single calendar year in which they played at least 10 matches (90%).
- Jani Atanasov scored his first senior international goals last time out against Italy, netting with both of North Macedonia’s shots on target in their 5-2 defeat in Rome.
- Harry Kane has either scored or assisted a goal in each of his last 11 appearances for England in all competitions (11 goals, 3 assists). With two goals in this game, he would be the first ever European player to score 10-plus goals in three consecutive qualifying campaigns, having netted 12 in qualifying for both EURO 2020 and the 2022 World Cup.
- Bukayo Saka has been involved in ten goals in his last 11 competitive games for England (7 goals, 3 assists), setting up Harry Kane’s strike against Malta last time out. He also scored a hat-trick in the Three Lions’ home fixture against North Macedonia in June.
North Macedonia in profile
Nickname: The Lions
Coach: Blagoja Milevski
Captain: Stefan Ritovski
Last time out: England 7-0 North Macedonia
Re-live what was a memorable summer night at Old Trafford in June
Head to head
The Three Lions have met North Macedonia* on five previous occasions, having previously been drawn alongside each other in successive European Championships qualifying groups for EURO 2004 and EURO 2008.
The first encounter came at St. Mary's Stadium in Southampton, when England found themselves behind twice with the opening goal coming direct from a corner taken by ex West Bromwich Albion player Artim Shakiri. That game ended 2-2 thanks to strikes from David Beckham and Steven Gerrard.
The second game ended all square at 0-0 at Old Trafford during Steve McClaren's reign and our most recent clash also took place at the home of Manchester United as the Three Lions impressed with a 7-0 victory in EURO 2024 qualifying.
You can see details of our previous games below:-
England 7-0 North Macedonia, Monday 19 June 2023, Old Trafford
England 0-0 Macedonia, 7 October 2006, Old Trafford
Macedonia 0-1 England, 6 September 2006, Gradski, Skopje
Macedonia 1-2 England, 6 September 2003, Gradski, Skopje
England 2-2 Macedonia, 16 October 2002, St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton
* Macedonia officially became known at North Macedonia in 2019.
England Squad News
Members of the England Supporters' Travel Club get priority access to tickets for England away games and registration for this game is now open.
How to watch or stream
This game will be shown live on Channel 4 in the UK.
Gareth Southgate has handed 18-year-old Rico Lewis his first England men's senior team start against North Macedonia.
Lewis was only added to the squad a week ago following several withdrawals but has done enough to earn a place in the starting line-up a day before his 19th birthday.
The teenager was one of six changes to the side which beat Malta 2-0 on Friday night, as Kyle Walker, Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka, Ollie Watkins and Jack Grealish all come into the team.
Gareth Southgate’s side went into the break a goal down, after Enis Bardhi scored from the rebound of his penalty following a save from Jordan Pickford.
But the Three Lions were brought back level as Harry Kane’s header was turned home by Jani Atanasov to see England top Group C and head into the EURO 2024 draw as one of the top seeds.
Debutant Rico Lewis displayed the confidence that has seen him make his first England appearance a day shy of his 19th birthday as he had England’s first attempt of the evening, sending a shot over the bar.
The defence was breached again when Ollie Watkins was found free in the box, but the Aston Villa striker could only head across the face of goal.
Watkins was inches away from two more chances for England on the half-hour mark, first just failing to connect with a Jack Grealish cross before Phil Foden’s pass was just too far in front of Watkins.
With 39 minutes gone, and against the run of play, North Macedonia were awarded a penalty with Lewis judged to have handled the ball in the area following a review by VAR
Lewis looked to make amends down the other end as he set himself well on the edge of the box before firing low, forcing a save from Dimitrievski.
The shot-stopper was called into action two minutes later as England searched for an injury-time equaliser, with Trent Alexander-Arnold's dipping shot having to be turned behind.
England emerged from the break full of attacking intent and looked to have equalised just two minutes into the second half through Grealish.
Just seconds after coming on as a replacement, Kane was involved in the equaliser, heading a Foden corner towards goal before Atanasov turned the ball into his own net in the 59th minute.
Nikola Serafimov gave North Macedonia a late chance at a winner as he headed just over before substitute Marcus Rashford sent a free-kick wide for England as the game moved into injury time.
The Three Lions continued to fight for a winner but could not find one as England ended the year with a draw but unbeaten in 2023.
Substitutes: 20 Harry Kane for Watkins 58’, 15 Kalvin Phillips for Alexander-Arnold 84, 19 Cole Palmer for Bukayo Saka 84, 18 Marcus Rashford for Jack Grealish 84’
Substitutes not used: 12 Fikayo Tomori, 13 Sam Johnstone, 14 Jordan Henderson, 16 Conor Gallagher, 17 Ezri Konsa, 22 Aaron Ramsdale
Goal: Jani Atanasoc OG 59’
Cautions: Rico Lewis 40’, Trent Alexander-Arnold 56’
Manager: Gareth Southgate
North Macedonia (3-5-2): 1 Stole Dimitrievski; 15 Jovan Manev, 4 Nikola Serafimov, 6 Visar Musliu; 14 Bojan Dimoski, 10 Enis Bardhi, 21 Jani Atanasov, 18 Isnik Alimi, 8 Ezgjan Alioski, 9 Bojan Miovski, 7 Elif Elmas
Substitutes: 19 Milan Ristovski for Miovski 75, 16 Tihomir Kostadinov for Alimi 75’, 3 Stefan Ashkovski for Dimoski 86, 17 Agon Elezi for Atanasov 90’
Substitutes not used: 2 Ahmed Iljazovski, 5 Arijan Ademi, 11 Darko Churlinov, 12 Igor Aleksovski, 13 Dimitar Mitrovski, 20 Erdon Daci, 22 Damjan Siskovski, 23 Todor Todoroski
Goal: 10 Enis Bardhi 41’
Cautions: Elif Elmas 17’
Coach: Blagoja Milevski