Portugal feel like regulars at major tournaments and they haven’t failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1998, with a run of five-straight appearances between 2002 and 2018. In two of those five appearances, Portugal have had to qualify via the play-offs and it’s the same case for 2022.
Fernando Santos’ men went into their final game of Group A knowing a draw would have been enough to secure top spot but a last-gasp defeat to Serbia condemned them to the play-offs. They were handed a tricky tie against Turkey in the semi-final but eventually got through with a comfortable 3-1 win thanks to goals from Otavio, Diogo Jota and Matheus Nunes.
Many expected them to be facing Italy for the chance to reach Qatar but North Macedonia had other ideas. Fresh off the back of their debut appearance at Euro 2020, North Macedonia are looking for a first trip to the World Cup and secured their spot in the play-offs after finishing second in Group J behind Germany.
Whether or not North Macedonia make it to the World Cup they’ll have some memories to cherish and moments to draw from including a 2-1 win over Germany and the play-off semi-final victory against Italy. North Macedonia were under the cosh in Palermo but held off until Aleksandar Trajkovski scored in the second minute of second-half injury time to send his side through. Can they do it again?
CLICK HERE to claim. 18+ only. *New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org. Full T&Cs apply.
Portugal vs North Macedonia: Match Stats
There may not be a Portuguese player in better form than Diogo Jota right now. The Liverpool forward scored Portugal’s second against Turkey, his ninth goal in 23 games for his national side. It meant he has scored three goals in three games for club and country, also netting for Liverpool against Arsenal in the Premier League and vs Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup after returning from injury.
Joining Jota in the Portugal attack will be Cristiano Ronaldo and he’ll be looking to add to his tally of 115 goals. Against Turkey, Ronaldo had five shots in total, two of which hit the target and another on striking the crossbar. He’ll have a lot of opportunities against a North Macedonia defence that allowed 32 shots vs Italy.
Portugal vs North Macedonia: Squawka Says
Scoreline prediction: Portugal 3-0 North Macedonia
26 May 2012 – Portugal 0-0 North Macedonia – Friendly
2 April 2003 – North Macedonia 0-1 Portugal – Friendly
This will be the first competitive meeting between Portugal and North Macedonia, with their previous two matches being friendlies. Portugal won the first 1-0 thanks to Luis Figo’s goal, while they played out a goalless draw last time out.