Filip Mishov’s North Macedonia v Netherlands preview: Pandev retirement signals end of an era
Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering North Macedonia throughout Euro 2020
The North Macedonian fairy tale is coming to an end accompanied by Goran Pandev’s swansong.
After the heart-breaking loss to Ukraine, the North Macedonia national team is left with no chance to progress to the knockout phase of Euro 2020.
A bittersweet taste of the big stage for the Lynxes as the feeling of ‘could have done more’ remains strong. But North Macedonia already won by just being at the Euros and it is the beginning, rather than the end for North Macedonian football in terms of recognition worldwide.
The already qualified Netherlands are playing North Macedonia at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam and it is a chance for Frank de Boer to rest his key players and for Igor Angelovski to grant minutes to some of the bench players and try to earn at least a point.
The match against Oranje is most probably the last one in Pandev’s distinguished career as the 37-year-old North Macedonia captain will likely retire after the Euros. It will be an emotionally draining day for the North Macedonian football fans as Grande Pandev is the greatest Macedonian football player of all time, being the most capped player with 121 appearances and the top goalscorer with 38 goals.
Also, the match against the Netherlands is probably the last one at the helm for the current national team coach, Igor Angelovski whose contract is due to expire. It may turn out to be the end of an era if Pandev confirms his decision to retire and if Angelovski doesn’t get a new deal.
Even with De Boer resting his first team, the hosts are still favourites and with the North Macedonian players motivated to go out with at least a point, I expect goals and fingers crossed, with Pandev scoring once again! I predict a 2-2 draw.