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EURO 2012 Preview: Macedonia - Slovakia

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A moment from the previous meeting; photo: uefa.comA moment from the previous meeting; photo: uefa.comBoth national teams have already been eliminated from EURO 2012 qualifying so tomorrow's game between Macedonia and Slovakia will be a matchup of which team will be more motivated to conclude the qualifications with a positive result.

Both Macedonia and Slovakia are saying all the right things in wanting to conclude the EURO 2012 qualifications with a positive result but it is pretty apparent that both managers will have a difficult time motivating their players.  Both teams suffered losses in the last game so the team with the added motivation and hunger will have an edge in this game.

For Macedonia, the misery started in Slovakia.  The team was upbeat and battled Slovakia on the road but then conceded a late goal in the 90th minute to suffer a demoralizing 1:0 loss.  The atmosphere took a big hit after that game and Macedonia has not been the same after that narrow defeat.  That was the opening game for Macedonia in EURO 2012 qualifying and the team was not able to bounce back after that loss.  Defender Vance Sikov and former manager Mirsad Jonuz received red cards in that game so it was just a dismal day for Macedonia.

Many of the players who featured in that game are not with the current Macedonian squad due to injuries, suspensions, and several were simply not called up by manager John Toshack.

11 October is a holiday in Macedonia so that will hopefully give some extra boost to the players to get some revenge on Slovakia for that early loss in the campaign.  11 October is a non working day for the citizens of Macedonia but many football fans are upset at the Football Federation of Macedonia (FFM) and don't plan on attending the game.

To date, Macedonia has never beaten Slovakia.  In five meetings, Slovakia has recorded four wins and one draw with a goal difference of +10.  That is actually the worst goal difference for Macedonia against any opponent in its history so Slovakia has been a tough adversary for our national team.  It is interesting to note that these are the third qualifications in which Macedonia will play Slovakia in the last game to conclude the campaign.  Here are the match reports from the previous five meetings:

03.09.2000 Slovakia - Macedonia 2:0 match report
07.10.2001 Macedonia - Slovakia 0:5 match report
29.03.2003 Macedonia - Slovakia 0:2 match report
10.09.2003 Slovakia - Macedonia 1:1 match report
03.09.2010 Slovakia - Macedonia 1:0 match report

Some rarely used players over the past year should be given a chance in this game due to suspensions and injuries.  Vlade Lazarevski is expected to start at RB for the injured Daniel Georgievski and this will be Lazarevski's first start in several months for Macedonia.  Meanwhile, at the left-back position, Aleksandar Lazevski should start for the suspended Goran Popov who is out with a yellow cards suspension.  There will also be some new players in midfield and attack due to the suspensions of Velice Sumulikoski and Mirko Ivanovski.

The match will be played at the National Arena Phillip II Arena in Skopje beginning at 19:45 CET.  As a matter of fact, all three games in Group B will start at the same time.  The referee of the match will be Tony Chapron from France as the match will be televised on MTV in Macedonia.

Possible formation for Macedonia:
 
Bogatinov
 
Lazarevski-Sikov-Noveski-Lazevski
 
Demiri-Huseini
 
Grozdanoski-Gjurovski-Trickovski

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