Austria and finals debutants North Macedonia face a rapid reunion having also been paired together in qualifying, when the Austrians won both games.
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North Macedonia kick off their first ever major tournament in Bucharest against an Austria side who beat them twice in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2020.
• While North Macedonia are one of two teams making their EURO debut at these finals, along with Finland in Group B, Austria are taking part for the third time in four editions of the UEFA European Championship and are looking to reach the knockout stages for the first time.
• The teams had never met before being paired together in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2020, Austria winning both home and away on their way to finishing second in Group G on 19 points, five more than third-placed North Macedonia.
• Austria came from behind to win 4-1 at the National Arena Todor Proeski in Skopje on 10 June 2019, Martin Hinteregger's 18th-minute own goal having given the home side the lead. Valentino Lazaro (39) equalised before the break and Marko Arnautović's second-half double (62 pen, 82) put the visitors in charge before an Egzon Bejtulai own goal four minutes from time wrapped up Austria's first away win in the section.
• The teams reconvened at Vienna's Ernst-Happel-Stadion on 16 November 2019, Austria booking their finals place with a 2-1 victory – their sixth win in seven matches. Early goals in each half from David Alaba (7) and Stefan Lainer (48) – his first for Austria – secured the victory, Austria holding on despite Vlatko Stojanovski's consolation goal on his international debut three minutes into added time.
EURO facts: Austria
• This is Austria's third EURO finals appearance, all in the last 12 years. Having appeared as co-hosts at UEFA EURO 2008 but failed to win in three games, they qualified for the tournament for the first time at UEFA EURO 2016 but again bowed out without recording a victory.
• Austria's record in EURO final tournaments is W0 D2 L4 F2 A7.
• At UEFA EURO 2016, Austria finished bottom of Group F, losing to Hungary (0-2) and Iceland (1-2) either side of a goalless draw against eventual champions Portugal.
• Austria's greatest achievement is a third-place finish at the 1954 FIFA World Cup in neighbouring Switzerland. They last qualified for a World Cup in 1998, when the tournament was staged in France.
• Austria have not won a game at a major finals since a 2-1 defeat of the United States in the 1990 World Cup group stage.
• Franco Foda's side booked their place at UEFA EURO 2020 as Group G runners-up behind Poland, winning six of their ten qualifiers (D1 L3). They lost their first two matches and, with their finals place already secured, the last, 1-0 in Latvia.
• Austria's record in Romania is W1 D2 L1, all those games against the host nation. Their last trip brought a first victory, a 1-0 UEFA Nations League success at the Stadionul Ilie Oană in Ploieşti on 14 October 2020 with Alessandro Schöpf scoring the only goal; that was their first competitive international in the country outside Bucharest.
• This is Austria's first game at the National Arena Bucharest.
EURO facts: North Macedonia
• This is North Macedonia's first final tournament. Before UEFA EURO 2020 they had never finished higher than fourth in their qualifying section for a UEFA European Championship or a World Cup.
• Igor Angelovski's side were third in Group G behind Poland (25 points) and Austria (19) in their UEFA EURO 2020 section. North Macedonia picked up 14 points from their ten games (W4 D2 L4), level with Slovenia but with a superior head-to-head record despite losing two of their final three matches, away to Poland (0-2) and Austria (1-2).
• North Macedonia qualified for the EURO play-offs having topped their 2018/19 UEFA Nations League section ahead of Armenia, Gibraltar and Liechtenstein, winning five of their six matches (L1) to finish five points clear at the head of the standings.
• Angelovski's team were 2-1 winners at home to Kosovo in the play-off semi-finals, Krste Velkovski's first international goal deciding the contest, before captain Goran Pandev's strike proved enough to win the final in Georgia 1-0.
• Having beaten Israel 1-0 in their final Group G game, those play-off results made it three successive EURO qualifying wins for North Macedonia for the first time.
• North Macedonia are the 35th country to have qualified for the EURO.
• North Macedonia visited the National Arena Bucharest on 25 March this year, where they were defeated 3-2 by hosts Romania in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier despite goals from Arijan Ademi and Aleksandar Trajkovski.
• North Macedonia's sole previous game in Bucharest before that match was a 4-2 defeat by the home side at the Stadionul Steaua in qualifying for the 1998 World Cup in August 1997. Their only other visit to Romania came more recently, in Craiova on 4 September 2004, when they lost another World Cup qualifier 2-1 to their hosts.
Links and trivia
• Marko Arnautović and Pandev were team-mates at Internazionale in 2010.
• Ivan Tričkovski scored as AEK Larnaca won 2-0 at Sturm Graz in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round first leg on 9 August 2018, and followed up with a hat-trick in AEK's 5-0 home success a week later.
• An Ademi goal was not enough to prevent Dinamo Zagreb suffering a 4-2 loss away to Salzburg in the UEFA Europa League group stage on 23 October 2014.
• Sasa Kalajdzic and Darko Curlinov were team-mates at German Bundesliga side Stuttgart in 2020/21.
• Austria have failed to score in their last three matches, having managed at least one goal in all of the previous ten. They warmed up for UEFA EURO 2020 with a 1-0 defeat by England in Middlesbrough on 2 June and a 0-0 draw against Slovakia in Vienna four days later. That clean sheet was their first in seven matches.
• Aleksandar Dragović, Austria's only ever-present in the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers, became just the fourth Austrian international to reach 90 caps when he played against England. Only one, Andreas Herzog, has gone on to complete the century.
• Dragović is one of eight members of Austria's UEFA EURO 2020 squad who competed in France five years ago. The others are David Alaba, Marko Arnautović, Julian Baumgartlinger, Martin Hinteregger, Stefan Ilsanker, Marcel Sabitzer and Alessandro Schöpf, who scored the team's only goal at those finals, against Iceland.
• Arnautović holds the Austrian record for appearances in EURO matches, qualifiers included, of 29, and needs two more goals to match Toni Polster's national high in the competition of 15.
• No fewer than 21 of the 26 players in Franco Foda's squad played for German Bundesliga clubs in 2020/21. The only one to win silverware was Alaba, who captured a ninth successive league title with Bayern München in his final season at the club before leaving for Real Madrid.
• One of the two home-based players in the squad, Andreas Ulmer, also enjoyed repeat domestic success by winning the Austrian Bundesliga title for the 11th time – and eighth in a row – with Salzburg, to which he added a third successive domestic cup triumph – and eighth in all.
• There was also club success elsewhere in 2020/21 for midfielder Louis Schaub, a Swiss Cup winner with Luzern, and goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann, who achieved promotion to the English Premier League with Watford. The latter made his debut for Austria in that pre-tournament friendly against England.
• North Macedonia's two pre-UEFA EURO 2020 friendlies, both in Skopje, brought a 1-1 draw with Slovenia, in which Elif Elmas scored for the third successive international, and a 4-0 win against Kazakhstan that featured first international goals for Milan Ristovski – 12 minutes into his debut – and Darko Churlinov.
• Those results mean that Igor Angelovski's side have lost just two of their last 14 matches, winning eight including a momentous 2-1 victory away to Germany in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier on 31 March.
• Arijan Ademi and mid-season signing Stefan Ristovski were Croatian double winners with Dinamo Zagreb in 2020/21. They also helped the club reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, each of them starting all six matches in the knockout phase against Krasnodar, Tottenham and eventual winners Villarreal.
• Other 2020/21 trophy winners in Angelovski's squad are Egzon Bejtulai, a North Macedonian champion with Shkëndija, Kire Ristevski, a Hungarian Cup winner with Újpest, and Krste Velkoski, who also lifted the domestic cup in Bosnia and Herzegovina with Sarajevo.
• Goran Pandev has made 29 appearances in EURO matches – all qualifiers – a record for a North Macedonia player. Only four of his 37 international goals, however, have come in this competition, which puts him level with team-mate Elmas in the nation's rankings and one behind joint top marksmen Artim Šakiri and Ilčo Naumoski.