PLAYERS from North Macedonia’s squad will reportedly earn a cash bonus worth almost £500,000 if they qualify for the World Cup.
North Macedonia’s squad will earn close to £500,000 if they beat Portugal this eveningCredit: Reuters
North Macedonia stunned the world last week by dumping Italy out of the World Cup play-offs after a last-gasp 1-0 win.
Now they can qualify for a first-ever World Cup with victory over Ronaldo and Portugal tonight.
And stars from the tiny nation have an extra incentive to qualify for this year’s tournament in Qatar.
Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski has personally promised to pay the squad £421,000 (€500,000) if they repeat their heroics this evening, according to the Mirror.
North Macedonia’s appearance at Euro 2020 last year was a first ever at a major tournament for the country.
They lost all three games and crashed out at the group stages, but are dreaming of appearing at back-to-back tournaments.
Aleksandar Trajkovski’s 92nd minute strike against Italy last Thursday put North Macedonia within 90 minutes of the world’s biggest stage.
But now they must beat Portugal, a side ranked 59 places above them by FIFA, in order to book their ticket to Qatar.
And the £421,000 bonus that would rake in might be enough to see them travel first class.
And their captain and Manchester United star Ronaldo is confident he will lead his side to victory, in doing so secure his presence at a fifth World Cup finals.
Speaking to SportTV ahead of the game, he said: “We already know that if we win, we’re going to go to the World Cup, if we lose, we’re out. We have a responsibility to be positive and win the game.