Macedonia and Norway play their first matches following their disappointing World Cup qualifiers, in which both missed out on a place in Russia next year. The two nations have plenty of work to do ahead of the next set of qualifiers for Euro 2020 and need to take these International Friendlies seriously, but each squad is missing some key and experienced players.
The two countries have only met three times before, most recently in 2013 when Norway played the role of hosts to Macedonia for a friendly. Skjelbred opened the scoring after just nine minutes for the home side, and that goal proved enough to hand Norway a 1-0 lead at the break. Both sides made changes at half time, but the next significant moment of the match arrived in the form of a sending off, rather than a goal. Macedonia defender Grncharov was booked for a challenge and reacted to the referee’s decision in a manner that left the official no choice but to show him a straight red card. With ten men it was always going to prove an uphill task for the visitors, and in the seventy-ninth minute winger Braaten wrapped up the win for Norway when he made the final score 2-0.
Heading into this weekends game both sides have been playing well, but its Norway who earn the title of form favourites after the visitors picked up three wins, two draws, and a defeat from their last six matches. Macedonia have also only lost once during that six game period, but with an extra draw and one fewer wins to their name they have to settle for a place behind Norway in the form guide.
Both countries have been in good scoring form of late, with each only failing to hit the back of the net once in their last six matches in all competitions. Macedonia’s only failure to score arrived during a goalless draw at home to Turkey, but they did manage to score against both Italy and Spain during the World Cup qualifiers. Norway were hammered 6-0 by a rampant Germany in September, but put eight past San Marino without reply and beat Northern Ireland 1-0.
We’re confident that both teams will score tomorrow as they have each looked very strong going forward in recent months. In terms of a final score, we believe that with Norway having Josh King missing from their forward line that this game is going to end even and that the final score will read 1-1.