The Euro 2024 landscape is gradually taking form as Germany prepare to host the tournament. Eight nations have already secured spots, with 12 more set to be decided in the remaining qualifiers between November 16-20.
Group C preview
In Group C, England have advanced and lead with 16 points, leaving Ukraine (13) and Italy (10) trailing in second and third place respectively. Italy, however, have a game in hand against Ukraine and are positioned for qualification or, at the very least, a playoff berth.
The Azzurri’s hold a tiebreaker advantage based on their 2-1 victory over Ukraine in September. Although a loss to North Macedonia could complicate matters, Italy is assured of a playoff spot even if they don’t secure the necessary results in both games.
Davide Frattesi, on loan to Inter Milan, has been a standout performer for Italy during the qualifiers, scoring three goals, including a crucial brace against Ukraine. Ukraine, on the other hand, needs to finish ahead of Italy in Group C to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs.
The Italians who are set to defend their European title, are navigating the complexities of the qualifying stage, where every result has implications for their Euro 2024 journey. The scenario remains dynamic, providing a mix of suspense and anticipation as the footballing nations vie for coveted places in the prestigious tournament.
Gareth Southgate has masterfully guided England to their fourth consecutive major tournament qualification with two games to spare. The match against Malta hold little repercussion for the Three Lions, given their stellar qualification record under Southgate.
In stark contrast, Italy face a more challenging situation as they prepare to take on their nemesis, North Macedonia. The Azzurri, in theory, could suffer another setback against the team that thwarted their World Cup aspirations. Such an outcome would intensify the pressure on their final fixture against Ukraine next week.
A victory in Rome, however, would secure Italy the advantage of needing just one more point to secure a second-place finish behind England in Group C. The high stakes in Italy’s clash against North Macedonia add an intriguing layer to the unfolding drama of the Euro 2024 qualifiers. Fans can buy UEFA Euro 2024 tickets from Seatsnet and watch all the action unfold as Italy look to join England in booking their place in the finals next year.
Group C Table
- England : 16 PTS
- Ukraine:. 13 PTS
- Italy: 10 PTS
- North Macedonia: 7 PTS
- Malta: 0 PTS (Eliminated)
England v Malta preview
Wembley becomes the battleground for a Group C clash against Malta as England prepare for their final home fixture in the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign,
Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions have already secured the top spot in the group, boasting an impressive performance throughout the qualifiers. With 16 points from six games, England’s victory over Italy further solidified their standing. Even if Italy and Ukraine manage to equal their points, England’s favorable head-to-head record positions them securely at the summit of their group.
While the primary objective of clinching the top position is accomplished, England now set its sight on securing maximum points in their remaining matches. The pursuit of entering Pot 1 for the group-stage draw intensifies, as teams vie for advantageous seeding.
Among seven contenders competing for three coveted spots in Pot 1, England aims to bolster its standing as one of the best-performing teams in the preliminary rounds. Notably, host country, Germany as well as 2018 champions, Portugal have already secured positions in this elite section.
This scenario presents a striking contrast for the beleaguered Malta team who are seeking to salvage a semblance of pride in their concluding Group C encounter with at least a point.
The Euro 2024 qualifiers have unfolded as another continental nightmare for the world’s 171st-ranked nation, joining the ranks of five teams, including San Marino, Cyprus, Gibraltar, and Liechtenstein, without a single point.
Malta face the prospect of enduring a winless Euros qualifying campaign for only the second time in 51 years, with their previous instance being an eight-match losing streak during the preliminary rounds for Euro 2000.
Despite their challenging circumstances, Michele Marcolini’s side experienced a brief moment of euphoria against Ukraine on matchday seven.
Paul Mbong propelled Malta into an early lead, providing a glimmer of hope. However, an own goal from Ryan Camenzuli, coupled with strikes from Artem Dovbyk and Mykhaylo Mudryk, resulted in a 3-1 defeat as Ukraine mounted a comeback.
Locked in the position of finishing at the bottom of the group, Malta are poised for introspection after a challenging year. Their Euro qualifiers losing streak could extend to 17 matches as they face England at Wembley on Friday.
Reflecting on their Euro 2024 campaign, Malta’s only bright spots were 1-0 friendly wins over Gibraltar and Luxembourg, with the upcoming match against England posing a significant challenge. In their June encounter, England secured a customary 4-0 victory in Ta’ Qali, maintaining a perfect record of six wins against Malta, who have only scored once in this fixture—a Richard Wright own goal in a friendly match in 2000.
England v Malta team news
A month after his standout performance against Italy, Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham heads a list of England withdrawals due to a shoulder injury.
Lewis Dunk, James Maddison, Callum Wilson, and Levi Colwill also withdrew, while Marcus Rashford and Kalvin Phillips are yet to join for personal reasons. These withdrawals have paved the way for first-time call-ups to the trio of Rico Lewis, Ezri Konsa, and Cole Palmer.
For Malta, the squad includes Jamaican-born attacker Kemar Reid, set for his first cap after gaining citizenship in October. Offensive reinforcements include Teddy Teuma and Jodi Jones, both returning from injuries. Teuma, expected to occupy the number 10 spot, has been in fine form with four goals and two assists for Reims in Ligue 1 this season.
England v Malta predicted starting line-up
England predicted starting line-up : Johnstone; Walker, Guehi, Maguire, Trippier; Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Gallagher; Bowen, Kane, Foden
Malta predicted starting line-up: Bonello; S. Borg, J. Borg, Pepe; Attard, N. Muscat, Guillaumier, Camenzuli; Teuma; Jones, P. Mbong
England v Malta prediction
Whether Gareth Southgate decides on a full-strength lineup or opts for significant changes against Malta, the expected outcome on Friday is a comprehensive victory for England. As they aim to enhance their chances of securing a spot in Pot 1, the Three Lions are anticipated to dominate.
While the return of Teddy Teuma and Jodi Jones might offer Maltese fans a slight sense of optimism, England will leave no prisoners as potential new debutants will aim to put up remarkable performances that’ll earn them another call-up in future matches.
Italy v North Macedonia preview
Luciano Spalletti’s led Italian national team face a crucial month as they strive to qualify for Euro 2024. Italy find themselves three points behind second-placed Ukraine with a game in hand and they now need at least three points from their remaining two games to progress alongside group leaders England.
On the other hand, North Macedonia have shown resilience against Italy, notably defeating them in a play-off for the 2022 World Cup. Despite positive results against Malta and a draw against Italy in September, North Macedonia faced a reality check with a 2-0 loss to Ukraine, ruling them out of contention for a top-two spot.
Italy’s recent four-game unbeaten run in Group C was halted by a defeat to England, leaving them in a direct battle with Ukraine for the runners-up position. With a crucial game in hand, a victory against North Macedonia would set Italy on course to qualify directly, needing just a draw in the subsequent clash with Ukraine.
While Italy have a formidable home record in Euros qualifiers, failure to secure three points against North Macedonia would intensify the pressure, requiring a victory over Ukraine on the final matchday or potentially navigating another playoff campaign. The upcoming fixtures will determine Italy’s fate in the quest for a spot in Euro 2024.
Italy v North Macedonia team news
After accumulating his third booking in Group C, Italy’s Giovanni Di Lorenzo will miss the upcoming match due to suspension.
Additionally, injuries have sidelined Rafael Toloi, Alex Meret, Manuel Locatelli, and Davide Calabria. Defenders Destiny Udogie, Gianluca Mancini, and Giorgio Scalvini are also absent, prompting the call-up of uncapped Juventus full-back Andrea Cambiaso and a potential debut for Monza’s Andrea Colpani.
Star striker, Ciro Immobile remains unavailable.
For North Macedonia, captain Stefan Ristovski who was involved in a rift with coach Blagoja Milevski, has not been called up since June. The squad largely remains unchanged, with no inclusion for Valon Ethemi or Ljupcho Doriev, both present in the previous month’s internationals.
Italy v North Macedonia preview predicted line-ups
Italy predicted line-up: Donnarumma; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni, Dimarco; Cristante, Barella, Frattesi; Berardi, Scamacca, Chiesa.
North Macedonia predicted line-up: Dimitrievski; Ashkovski, Musliu, Zaykov, Alioski; Bardhi, Ademi, Elmas; Trajkovski, Nestorovski, Miovski.
Italy v North Macedonia prediction
Italy’s offensive prowess could be crucial in securing the vital three points. However, facing a resilient North Macedonia side, whom they have struggled against in recent times, The Azzuri’s might need some heroics to secure victory.
While Spalletti’s team faces obstacles, especially in defense, they still possess quality players in attack to get maximum points from this encounter.
There’s no doubt that the Stadio Olimpico will be tense throughout the match, given the Azzurri’s recent troubles when qualifying for major tournaments.