Italy vs North MacedoniaEuro 2024, KO: 19:45 Nov 17, 2023, Stadio Olimpico
Italy need a win to keep alive their European Championship qualification chances as they host North Macedonia in a Group C fixture on Friday. The Italians are often solid at home and should have too much quality for their visitors, who often find things difficult on their travels.
Italy are reigning European champions but face a tricky task booking their place in next year’s tournament. Sitting three points off the automatic places, they need a win in Friday’s clash before facing Ukraine in a straight shootout for qualification in their final fixture in the campaign.
The Azzurri were beaten 3-1 by England in their previous fixture in Group C despite taking an early lead through Gianluca Scamacca. However, that was their first defeat in five qualifying matches, having picked up three wins in that run.
While Italy have had their problems lately, one thing that will give them confidence ahead of Friday’s clash is their solid record in front of their fans. Luciano Spalletti’s men have won four of their last five home matches across all competitions.
North Macedonia can no longer qualify for next year’s tournament in Germany and are only playing for pride at the moment. They are third on the table, six points off the qualification places having picked up just two wins from six matches in Group C.
The North Macedonians head into Friday’s clash off the back of a 3-1 victory over Armenia in a friendly in October. It was a return to winning ways for Blagoja Milevski’s men, who were beaten 2-0 by Ukraine in their previous qualifying fixture.
The defeat to Ukraine highlights a disappointing stat for North Macedonia, who often struggle on their travels. They have lost four of their last five away matches across all competitions, failing to score in all four defeats.
How the bookies view it
Italy have been installed as overwhelming favourites among the bookies with a home win priced at 2/13 by Unibet. An unlikely victory for North Macedonia is valued at 22/1 by William Hill while bet365 is offering odds of 7/1 for a draw.
Head to head
Italy and North Macedonia have claimed one win each with two draws from four previous meetings. Both teams played out a 1-1 scoreline in the reverse fixture back in September.
Players to watch
Given North Macedonia’s attacking problems on their travels, Italy will be targeting a shutout on Friday. Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Bastoni are likely to feature in defence and can lead the Azzurri to a clean sheet 8/15 by bet365.
At the other end of the pitch, Gianluca Scamacca could be worth keeping an eye on having looked sharp for Atalanta in recent weeks. The striker was also on target in the previous clash with England and is priced at 23/20 by William Hill to find the net on Friday.
Anything else catch the eye?
Having earned a 4-0 victory over Malta in their previous home fixture, Italy could be backed in the -2 handicap market at 7/5 by Paddy Power. That result also means that a win to nil could also be considered at 4/6 with BetVictor.
With Italy expected to be dominant at home, they could be backed to win both halves at 5/4 with William Hill.
This Euro 2024 match between Italy and North Macedonia will be played on Nov 17, 2023 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Italy vs North Macedonia prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.