Italy vs North Macedonia: Live stream, TV channel, team news, kick-off time

EUROPEAN champions risk going from heroes to zeroes in the space of less than nine months.

The Azzurri won the Euros against England at Wembley last July, but now face missing out on the World Cup.

Jorginho missed penalties at home and away to group winners Switzerland

Jorginho missed penalties at home and away to group winners SwitzerlandCredit: Getty

North Macedonia will look to upset the odds and qualify for their second successive major tournament

North Macedonia will look to upset the odds and qualify for their second successive major tournamentCredit: Getty

A goalless draw against Northern Ireland in Belfast saw the Italians fail to make it to Qatar automatically, despite going through the entire qualifying campaign unbeaten.

Switzerland were the beneficiaries of that result as they finished top of the group, condemning Roberto Mancini’s side to a play-off at home to North Macedonia.

And to make matters worse, the play-off draw then handed them a likely away tie against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal if they win this match.

Italy’s Balkan opponents have come on leaps and bounds as a football power, qualifying for their first ever tournament when they reached Euro 2020.

And the Italians will be well aware that the North Macedonians beat Germany away in qualifying, so they can’t expect this one to be a formality.

What time does Italy vs North Macedonia kick off?

  • Italy take on North Macedonia on Thursday, March 24.
  • The match kicks off at 7.45pm UK time – 8.45pm in Italy and North Macedonia.
  • It takes place at the Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo.
  • The sides last met in 2017 when an equaliser from Aleksandar Trajkovski saw North Macedonia earn a surprise 1-1 draw in World Cup 2018 qualifying in Turin. Italy would go on to miss out on the World Cup.

What TV channel is Italy vs North Macedonia on and can I live stream it?

  • Italy vs North Macedonia is live on Sky Sports Arena.
  • Coverage commences at 7.40pm – five minutes before kick-off.
  • To stream the game live, head to Sky Go or Now TV.

Team news

Italy

Brazil-born duo Luiz Felipe and Joao Pedro have been called up to the Italy squad for this play-off.

However, there’s no emotional return for Mario Balotelli, who Roberto Mancini had recalled to his previous squad.

Centre-back Alessio Romagnoli has also failed to make the cut.

Italy are also without the star of the Euro 2020 final, Federico Chiesa, who missed out with a knee injury.

Defender Leonardo Spinazzola has been out since the European Championship with a ruptured achilles tendon and will play no part in this one.

There are also concerns over the condition of Lorenzo Insigne, Nicolo Barella and captain Giorgio Chiellini and the performances of Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Manager Roberto Mancini has even confirmed that Chiellini is only likely to play in one of the two World Cup play-off matches, assuming Italy reach the final.

North Macedonia

Key midfielders Eljif Elmas and Tihomir Kostadinov are both out for North Macedonia while striker Adis Jahovic is also out.

Serie A legend Goran Pandev is unavailable after retiring from international football following Euro 2020 last summer.

That could lead Trajkovski to lead the line as he looks to get one over on Italy again.

Latest odds

To win in 90 minutes

Italy 2/13

Draw 13/2

North Macedonia 15/1

To qualify

Italy 1/20

North Macedonia 9/1

What they said

Italy manager Roberto Mancini is in confident mood ahead of the play-off semi-final.

He said: “I am optimistic because I have players who won Euro 2020 starting from nothing when nobody believed in us.

“We must think about what we did to have more self-confidence, the team is solid and with quality.

“Our goal is to win the World Cup. To do it we have to start by winning these two games.

“We want to go to the World Cup to win it.”

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