Italy vs North Macedonia predictions: European Championship tips and odds
Our betting expert has three Italy vs North Macedonia tips for the European Championship Group C qualifier at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday evening (7.45pm GMT kick-off). Scroll down to see the analysis behind his selections.
• Bet builder – second half highest scoring half, Gianluca Scamacca at least one shot on target and Italy’s winning margin one or two goals @ SP with CopyBet
Odds are correct at the time of publication and are subject to change.
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Game of few goals expected in Rome
Italy play host to North Macedonia in what is a crucial Euro 2024 qualifier for the Azzurri on Friday evening (7.45pm kick-off).
Luciano Spalletti’s men have slipped below England and Ukraine in the Group C standings and they cannot afford any mistakes at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Italians’ Euro 2024 qualifying campaign started with a defeat to England in Naples and the Azzurri were also beaten by the Three Lions in the return fixture at Wembley.
Spalletti’s side are six points adrift of group leaders England and three points behind Ukraine in the second qualifying spot. Of course, Italy have a game in hand on the Blue and Yellows, but the 2020 European Champions failed to win in North Macedonia – and Friday’s clash with the Lynxes looks anything but straightforward.
These sides played out a 1-1 draw in Skopje and that game featured only six shots on target.
The Italians do have the edge in terms of squad depth and quality, but Spalletti’s side have only scored four goals in their three away Euro 2024 qualifiers, and they could only hit two against a Malta side that have conceded 18 times in Group C.
While there are talented players in the Azzurri line-up, they are clustered at the back and in midfield – and when you look at Italy’s attacking options, it is not a huge surprise that goals have been hard to come by on their travels.
Moise Kean is yet to score for Juventus this season. Stephan El Shaarawy was handed a starting role against England, but the 31-year-old has never been a prolific goalscorer. While Federico Chiesa and Nicolo Zaniolo are good forward options, the only seasoned striker in the squad is Gianluca Scamacca.
North Macedonia restricted Ukraine to two goals on their travels and held Italy to a 1-1 draw in Skopje. While the Balkans side were hammered 7-0 by England at Old Trafford, that is the outlier in what has generally been a competitive qualification effort.
The Italians may well prove too strong for the Lynxes as the game progresses, but there is a lot of pressure on the Azzurri, who cannot afford any mistakes in Rome – and at 7/5, under 2.5 goals looks a good bet.
Italy vs North Macedonia tip 1: Under 2.5 goals @ 7/5 with CopyBet
Italy are likely to have the bulk of possession in Rome, but there is not a great deal of pace and penetration in Spalletti’s forward line and it could take a while for the Azzurri to break down North Macedonia.
It took the Italians until the second half to find the net in the reverse fixture, in a game that was level at the interval, and Spalletti’s men were also deadlocked at the break against England last time out.
North Macedonia have only conceded one first-half goal in their past four matches and Blagoja Milevski’s men look capable of holding out until the second period.
Atalanta frontman Scamacca is likely to get a starting role in the central striking position and the No 9 is one of the few Italian forwards that has been hitting the net this season.
The 24-year-old scored for the Azzurri against England last time out and the former West Ham man has got five goals in five Serie A starts for his club this term. Scamacca should be able to get at least one shot on target.
Italy may have to be patient against a stubborn North Macedonia side and backing the second half to be the highest scoring looks the play.
Complete the bet builder by backing the Italians’ winning margin to be one or two goals.
Italy vs North Macedonia tip 3: Bet builder – second half highest scoring half, Gianluca Scamacca at least one shot on target and Italy’s winning margin one or two goals @ SP with CopyBet
Odds are correct at the time of publication and subject to change.
Manuel Locatelli and Davide Calabria are missing with injury while Destiny Udogie is also not involved as Federico Dimarco fills in at left back.
Stefan Ristovski remains missing from the squad after a rift with the manager. So the visitors are likely to stick with a familiar starting XI.