F.Y.R. Macedonia coach Nikola Ilievski has named a much-changed squad for the EURO 2004™ qualifiers against Turkey and England following a number of withdrawals due to injury.
Macedonia, who entertain Turkey on 12 October followed by a trip to England four days later, could only draw with Liechtenstein in their opening Group 7 game and face the group favourites without several established players. OFK Beograd striker Angel Panov is a definite non-starter after breaking his nose in a recent league game, while fellow forwards Georgij Hristov and Ilce Naumovski are rated doubtful. Other absentees include goalkeeper Gogo Jovcev, Toni Meglenski, Pance Cumbev and Danco Masev.
Braga left out
Ilievski has recalled NK Rijeka's Aleksandar Vajs and Goran Pandev who both missed the Liechtenstein match while FK Partizan's Milan Stojanovski and Beograd's Filip Despotovski are also added to the squad. However, Ilievski has resisted turning to Brazilian-born Aguinaldo Braga who has failed to make an impact at Greek side FC Aris Thessaloniki.
Ilievski remained upbeat about his side's chances against two of Europe's strongest nations, and said: "Turkey are favourites, but I believe we can create a surprise. The game will be won or lost in midfield. Of course, England away will be very difficult but I think my young side can achieve a positive result."
F.Y.R. Macedonia squad
Milosevski, Nikolovski, Sedloski, Ignjatov, I. Mitrevski, Grncarov, Vasovski, Popov, Despotovski, Petrov, Vajs, Sumulikovski, A. Mitrevski, Trajanov, Saciri, Hristov, Nacevski, Grozdanovski, Toleski, Naumoski, Pandev, Stojanovski.
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