North Macedonia striker Aleksandar Trajkovski hopes to take advantage of the advantages of playing at home when playing against Italy in Palermo, Friday (25/3) early morning WIB in the 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff match.
Trajovski played at Palermo for four years. He also surprisingly scored against Italy when the two teams drew 1-1 in the 2018 World Cup qualifying match.
That draw saw Italy drop two vital points which saw them fail to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, the first time the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup in six decades.
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Trajkovski remembers that match vividly, when he stunned the home crowd with his goal in the second half.
“I hope if I can score again, it will bring us victory,” said Trajkovski.
“I was very happy when I found out we were going to play in Palermo because I was going back to the city, where I spent four years. We have to play with full motivation if we want to win,” said the 29-year-old striker.
Even so, Trajkovski realized North Macedonia would face a different Italy. The Azzurri are currently ranked sixth in FIFA and are European Cup winners.
North Macedonia’s struggle will also be tougher because they will lose Elif Elmas and Tihomir Kostadinov, who were suspended from playing.
However, coach Bobi Milevski is still optimistic about his chances of beating Italy considering their debut in the European Cup last year.
“We did not come to Italy as tourists. We will beat them,” he stressed.
Milevski believes his team have the ability and determination to surprise Italy, who lost in the 2018 World Cup plaoffs to Sweden.
“Our optimism is based on facts. I know my players very well. I would be happy if we were belittled,” said Milevski.
North Macedonia is seeking to qualify for the World Cup for the first time.
The Balkan nation only played their first international match in 1993 after declaring independence from Yugoslavia.
Despite their lack of experience, North Macedonia has recorded some good results, including beating Germany in the qualifying round in Duisburg, last year.
The winner of the match between Italy and North Macedonia will face the winner of the match between Portugal and Turkey for a ticket to the Qatar World Cup in November. (AFP/OL-1)