North Macedonia, already qualified for the Euro, the first international competition in its history, offered a prestigious victory this Wednesday in Duisburg, against the Mannschaft (1-2), and nabbed second place in the Group J qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. Author of his team’s first goal, Goran Pandev, 37, took advantage of this theater to further shape his legend.
A poor recovery from Emre Can in the axis of the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena in Duisburg and a man appears, then reappears, a few meters further, to crucify Marc-André ter Stegen from the left and hatch one of the most great successes in the history of a country of just over two million inhabitants (0-1, 45 + 2). When the same Emre Can flagrantly touches the ball with his arm in the box at the 77e minute, he is the first to go and tell the referee what he thinks, and thereby receive a yellow card which will suspend him for the next deadline. Whatever, as long as success is at the end of the tunnel. Because at 37 years old, Goran Pandev has no more time to lose and has therefore proved that he still had some under his sole for 90 minutes, even if he is closer in age to his coach Igor Angelovski (44 years) than Vlatko Stojanovski (23 years old), the Chambly striker who replaced him in stoppage time. Captain, most capped player (114 caps) and top scorer (36 pawns) in the history of the Macedonian team , the old man is a legend, a real one. In November 2020, it was already he who had qualified North Macedonia for the first final phase of an international competition in its history by scoring the only goal in the final of the play-offs at Euro 2020 against Georgia. (0-1).
When he does not don his cape of hero of the nation, Goran Pandev is a sure bet of Serie A. Holder for six years of a Genoa who embodies quite well the belly me of the Italian championship, the former of the Lazio no longer needs to take care of a trophy cabinet that he was responsible for filling by participating, for example, in the five-fold championship-cup-supercup-Champions League-Inter Club World Cup by José Mourinho in 2009-2010. This Mr. Pandev also has a club in Stroumitsa, his hometown, which he left the fourth division in 2014 and landed at the first Macedonian national level in 2017. Just that.
Le lucky loser de l’Euro
Let no one say that Pandev’s Macedonian participation in Euro 2021 is a fluke! Qualified for the play-offs by winning their group of the League D of Nations in 2019 after failing to qualify through the classic route, the Red Lions have turned into a student who succeeds in life without going through the big school box. by sweeping across Kosovo and Georgia to achieve this. And it’s not like the victory over Germany comes out of nowhere. Defeated in the first match of qualifying for the World Cup last week in Romania (3-2), the Macedonians also suffered blows of fate since they had returned to 2-2 in one minute at 83e and this after being led 2-0. A fitness against Liechtenstein (5-0) put them back in the direction of travel, ready to show Germany that by alternating rough defense and collective and cheeky football, it was totally possible to create exploits without pass for a thief. Qualification for the Euro assured, the small Balkan country now dreams of obtaining one at the next World Cup.
Löw had never lost in a World Cup qualifying
It must also be said that the German ogre has not really been one for many months. The victories without taking a goal against Iceland (3-0) then Romania (0-1) were perhaps two trees that hide the Black Forest. Not knowing how to get around the low block of the 67e nation in the Fifa rankings, this is not necessarily what we expect from the team. The difficulties of Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry, who nevertheless walk on water with Bayern, confirm that the problem is deeper than that. The collective is far from being in symbiosis and it is good to remember that a good part of the fallen team against Macedonia took a set against Spain six months ago (6-0). Even when Joachim Löw tries to bring back some offensive freshness, Timo Werner starts to miss an unmissable face-to-face on an offset caviar from İlkay Gündoğan. A significant statistic of the German ambient malaise? Against Macedonia, Joachim Löw suffered his first setback in a World Cup qualifying (it will be his last since he will leave his post at the end of the Euro). A nice observation when we underline the fact that Löw has been in office since 2006. Goran Pandev was 23 years old at the time. But he was already old.By Alexandre Delfau
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