Macedonian national team

Attacking woes for Macedonia

Macedonian national teamFrom the eight goals scored by Macedonia in EURO 2012 qualifying, four came from headers following corner kicks, one from a penalty, one with a close range shot following a corner, and only two were scored from the traditional open play.

These numbers just highlight the attacking woes for Macedonia.  It is a troubling statistic considering two of our best players are attackers in Goran Pandev and Ivan Trickovski.  As a matter of fact, the last ten goals by Pandev have all come during friendlies.  His last goal in a qualifier came on 10 September 2008 when he converted a penalty against the Netherlands in a 2:1 loss.  That means Pandev has not scored a meaningful goal for Macedonia in over three years.

In regards to the dismal EURO 2012 qualifications, Vance Sikov and Ilco Naumoski led the way for Macedonia with two goals apiece while Ivan Trickovski, Mario Gjurovski, Nikolce Noveski, and Mirko Ivanovski each scored one goal.  Both goals by Sikov came from headers following corner kicks in the road games against Andorra and Armenia.  Meanwhile, Ilco Naumoski scored one goal with a header following a corner kick, also in the road game against Andorra, and then converted a late penalty in the home match against Armenia which ended 2:2.

The recent goal by Nikolce Noveski in the Slovakia game also came with a header following a corner kick, Mirko Ivanovski scored with a shot from close range in the home game against Andorra following, you guessed it, a corner.  The only two goals that came from the traditional open play were Ivan Trickovski in the road game against Ireland and Mario Gjurovski in the home match against Armenia.

The biggest problems have been the lack of creativity in midfield and the terrible finishing once a player has a good chance to score.  After these terrible offensive woes, manager John Toshack already announced that he will call up several new strikers for the Albania friendly in November.  For the first time, Ilco Naumoski and Stevica Ristić will get a chance to impress Toshack who stated in a recent press conference that those two players will make the squad for the Albania friendly.

However, will that change anything?  It’s tough to control possession and create many chances when you look at the options in midfield for the Macedonian national team.  Toshack has already talked about possibly moving guys like Pandev and Trickovski to midfield in order to get the attack going.  Pandev can play in attacking midfield as he once did for Lazio when they were facing injuries at that position.  He also occasionally played in attacking midfield for Inter once Wesley Sneijder was injured.

Trickovski has the ability to play in left midfield but things must change.  It’s tough to get anything going when in a 4-3-3 formation, you have three defensive midfielders.  That was the formation under the former manager Mirsad Jonuz.  For a long time, he fielded three defensive midfielders in his formation with Velice Sumulikoski, Filip Despotovski, and Slavco Georgievski.  Maybe you will not suffer any humiliating losses with that defensive formation but it’s tough to get anything going in attack.

Here is an example of a formation that received good marks on our forum:


A. Todorovski-Sikov-Noveski-Popov




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