North Macedonia vs Italy predicted lineups: Spalletti begins reign in Skopje

Italy begin life under new boss Luciano Spalletti this weekend following the resignation of Euro 2020 winning manager Roberto Mancini. The former Napoli boss takes his Italy side to Skopje to take on North Macedonia in a Euro 2024 qualifier at the Tose Proeski Arena on Saturday evening.

North Macedonia vs Italy predicted lineups and news

This is an important game in Group C as both nations aim to bolster their chances of qualification for Euro 2024. Italy have plenty of work to do after losing at home to England in their opening group match with their only points in the campaign so far coming against rank outsiders Malta. North Macedonia meanwhile really need to upset the Italians here if they are to compete for a top two finish, having collected just 3 points from 3 group games so far. They can at least take confidence from their stunning 1-0 win in Palermo last year which ended Italy’s chances of making it to the 2022 World Cup.

North Macedonia
DeFodi Images / Icon Sport

Team news: North Macedonia

This is North Macedonia’s first game since a humiliating 7-0 defeat at Old Trafford against England in June. Manager Blagoja Milevski has made some changes to that squad and he will not have captain Stefan Ristovski available. The defender, who started the defeat in Manchester, has withdrawn from the national team due to issues between himself and the coach which have been made public. The Dinamo Zagreb man has been capped 82 times by his country so is a significant absentee.

North Macedonia’s initial squad for the matches against Italy and Malta has also been depleted by a number of injury withdrawals. Midfielders Darko Churlinov and Valon Ethemi, as well as forward Marjan Radeski have been forced to pull out.

The squad features four uncapped players as a result with Ahmed Iljazovski, Isnik Alimi, Dimitar Mitrovski and Davor Zdravkovski hoping to make their debuts.

North Macedonia predicted lineup

Dimitrievski, Ashkovski, Velkovski, Musliu, Zajkov, Alioski, Bardhi, Ademi, Elmas, Trajkovski, Nestorovski

Team news: Italy

Luciano Spalletti
LaPresse / Icon Sport

This is a new era for Italy after Roberto Mancini’s five year reign which brought the extreme high of Euro 2020 glory and the desperate low of World Cup elimination against this very opposition.

Fresh from winning Serie A with Napoli, Luciano Spalletti is an exciting appointment and his first squad sees a number of experienced players miss out despite their involvement in the recent Nations League Finals in June. There is no place in the squad for Leonardo Bonucci, Francesco Acerbi, Marco Verratti or Jorginho. Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi also misses out despite a brace in Serie A last week.

Spalletti has named a large squad of 29 players for the qualifiers against North Macedonia and Ukraine. It’s an Italy squad that may be short on genuine world class talent these days, but there is considerable depth to the squad and lots of options across the pitch so it will be intriguing to see who makes Spalletti’s first eleven.

Italy predicted lineup

Donnarumma, Dimarco, Bastoni, Scalvini, Di Lorenzo, Barella, Locatelli, Tonali, Chiesa, Immobile, Raspadori

Will Sandro Tonali play?

Sandro Tonali may be the most expensive Italian player of all time after his big money move to Newcastle this summer, but he is yet to cement himself as a regular starter in the Italian national team. Tonali was only on the bench for the opening Euro 2024 qualifier against England and wasn’t involved in the Nations League matches in June, but stands a good chance of making Spalletti’s starting lineup in Skopje.

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