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EURO 2012 Preview: Macedonia - Andorra

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Macedonia expects victory against AndorraMacedonia expects victory against AndorraMacedonia faces Andorra tomorrow in a game that John Toshack fully expects to record his first victory as Macedonian manager.

John Toshack has warned his club not to underestimate Andorra as anything less than a win would be unacceptable.  The Macedonian fans will never forget the Andorra game on 13 October 2004, during the 2006 World Cup qualifications, when Andorra recorded their first ever competitive victory by beating Macedonia 1:0.  That came four days after the Macedonian team drew 2:2 against the Netherlands.  Macedonia did not show up for the Andorra game and suffered an embarrassing defeat against one of the weakest sides in Europe.  Toshack will be hoping that does not happen again tomorrow as Macedonia will be without three regular starters in Pandev, Noveski, and Demiri.  During today's press conference, John Toshack said the following, "We understand what kind of match awaits us.  It will be hard, not because Andorra has quality, but because they will come to defend in Skopje.  I watched a replay of the Slovakia vs. Andorra game earlier in the competition and Slovakia barely won 1:0.  Therefore, there can't be relaxation by the players.  They will have to play up to their abilities to break down the defensive minded Andorra side in order to record the expected victory.

Due to picking up yellow cards in the Russia game, Goran Pandev, Nikolce Noveski, and Muhamed Demiri were suspended for the Andorra game and have already returned to their club teams.  Meanwhile, Darko Tasevski went back to Sofia so he is also not available for the Andorra game.  With the recent addition of Stefan Ristovski, the Macedonian squad consists of 20 players for the Andorra game.  Toshack is likely to field an offensive minded formation with many young players.  The absence of Pandev might not be a bad thing.  Lately, the young players have seemed intimidated by Pandev and always look to pass him the ball.  Without him, the young players will be able to freely express themselves on the field and not worry about pleasing Pandev.  Toshack will decide between Daniel Mojsov and Igor Mitreski as to who will partner Sikov in the center of our defense due to Noveski facing a yellow cards suspension.  The exclusion of Demiri might not be a big loss since there is no need to play with two defensive midfielders against Andorra.  Toshack will likely field an extra attacker with Velice Sumulikoski as the only defensive midfielder.

Speaking about the Andorra game, Goran Popov noted, "If we don't beat Andorra, that would be catastrophic for us as players, for Macedonia, and for Macedonian football as a whole.  I don't even want to think about the same atmosphere returning, just like several years ago, when we lost to this opponent.  We will be fully concentrated, knowing that we will have to break down a very defensive minded team.  Scoring a goal as soon as possible will be very important."

Macedonia and Andorra have already met one time during the EURO 2012 qualifications when Macedonia notched a 2:0 road victory against Andorra on 8 October 2010.  However, Macedonia did not play well in that match and scored both goals from set pieces using their size advantage.  Ilco Naumoski, who was not called up for this match, and Vance Sikov scored the two goals for Macedonia, both coming on headers following corner kicks.

Past meetings:
13.10.2004 Andorra - Macedonia 1:0 match report
09.02.2005 Macedonia - Andorra 0:0 match report
11.10.2006 Andorra - Macedonia 0:3 match report
17.10.2007 Macedonia - Andorra 3:0 match report
08.10.2010 Andorra - Macedonia 0:2 match report

The match will be played at the Fillip II Arena in Skopje beginning at 20:00 CET with the referee being Mark Steven Whitby from Wales, the home country of the Macedonian manager John Toshack.

Possible formation:

 Bogatinov
 
Georgievski-Sikov-Mojsov-Popov
 
Sumulikoski
 
Ibraimi-Hasani-Trajkovski-Trickovski

Ivanovski

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