Despite winning the European Championship back in 2021, it's hardly been smooth sailing of late for reigning champions Italy.
After losing 2-1 at home to England on matchday one of the Euro 2024 qualification cycle, head coach Roberto Mancini has since left his post in surprising fashion, switching the Italian national team for the Saudi Arabian one in recent weeks.
That will have hardly boosted confidence in the side, so a trip to face North Macedonia — who famously knocked them out of World Cup reckoning a few years back — arguably couldn't have come at a worse time.
New head coach Luciano Spalletti enjoyed a famous season in charge of Napoli in 2022/23, but he is under significant pressure to ensure Italy do not miss out on another major tournament.
The Azzurri have lost just one Euro qualifying match since all the way back in September 2006, however, and even despite the recent turmoil, they remain well-placed for another victory here.
North Macedonia vs. Italy match facts
- Date: Saturday, September 9
- Kickoff Time: 2:45 p.m. ET / 7:45 p.m. BST / 4:45 a.m. AEST (Sun. Sep 10)
- Location: Tose Proeski Arena (Skopje, North Macedonia)
- Referee: Francois Letexier
- Last meeting: Italy 0-1 North Macedonia (March. 24, 2022 | World Cup 2022 qualifying)
North Macedonia vs. Italy prediction, odds
- Moneyline lean: Italy (-300)
- Score prediction: North Macedonia 1-2 Italy
During the 2023/24 season, betting expert Nathan Evans has predicted 82% of match outcomes correctly (with three exact scorelines), whilst he holds a 51% success rate across all betting selections.
|Both teams |
to score Y / N
|Over / Under|
|+900||+425||-300||+125 / -175||-130 / -105|
|9.00||4.75||1.29||2.11 / 1.59||1.73 / 1.99|
|9/1||4/1||3/10||5/4, 8/13||4/5, 20/21|
|10.50||5.35||1.31||2.18 / 1.64||1.73 / 2.10|
|10.00||5.20||1.29||2.17 / 1.64||1.74 / 2.09|
North Macedonia vs. Italy best bet
- Pick: Both teams to score — YES
- Odds: +125 (BetMGM)
In truth, we're basing this selection more on the recent turmoil amongst the Italian ranks than anything else.
A change of managers is always a difficult event for a side to deal with and given their first match since the switch comes away from home, that only heightens the chance of potentially conceding here.
Italy have gone well in recent years in Euro qualification, remarkably losing just one of their prior 36 such matches, though that did come during this cycle against England. They also lost their last meeting in stunning fashion against North Macedonia, who will surely give it their all here in a must-win game in front of a home crowd.
North Macedonia vs. Italy flier bet
- Pick: Ciro Immobile to score first
- Odds: 4.20 (Dafabet)
As always in matches where there's a clear favourite, it's difficult to find much value, but we're taking the 'Ciro Immobile to score first' market here with Dafabet at 4.20.
He's only 2.01 to score anytime, which could be the play if you want to be safer, but Immobile remains Italy's most potent attacker, which should be enough of a reason to upgrade this pick to first goalscorer.
That's a feat he managed against Spain in the Nations League during Italy's last international window, whilst he remains the country's penalty taker, which ups his chance of netting the opener. His only Serie A goal this season for Lazio also saw him get on the scoresheet first.