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Serbia v FYR Macedonia background

FYR Macedonia are seeking a first win against neighbours Serbia in the second round of Group B games, but have suffered some heavy defeats versus these opponents.

Miloš Jojić scored twice in Serbia's last meeting with FYR Macedonia
Miloš Jojić scored twice in Serbia's last meeting with FYR Macedonia ©Getty Images

Having lost three of their four matches against Serbia, FYR Macedonia will be looking for a first competitive win against their neighbours in the second round of Group B games.

Previous meetings
• The teams' last competitive meeting, in September 2012, ended in a 5-1 home victory for Serbia in Mladost, confirming their place atop their qualifying group for the 2013 tournament. Miloš Jojić scored twice (67, 70), with Serbia's other goals coming from Ognjen Mudrinski (10), Luka Milunović (39) and Filpi Malbašić (81); Samir Fazli (77) replied for FYR Macedonia, who finished with ten men after David Babunski's added-time red card.

• On 7 October 2011 Ferhan Hasani's 89th-minute penalty had salvaged a 1-1 draw for FYR Macedonia in the home fixture with Serbia, who had led through Saša Marković's strike (73). That remains the sole time FYR Macedonia have avoided defeat against Serbia.

• There were two more losses in qualifying for the 2000 finals; Yugoslavia prevailed 2-0 in Belgrade before an 8-0 success in Skopje – still FYR Macedonia's record U21 defeat.

• Serbia won 3-1 against FYR Macedonia in October 2016 in the European U17 Championship qualifying round.

Match background

• Serbia previously appeared in the 2009 and 2015 tournaments, being eliminated in the group stage in either edition, having also lost the 2007 final to hosts the Netherlands. As Serbia and Montenegro they were runners-up in 2004, also getting to the 2006 semi-finals; and as part of Yugoslavia, they were champions in the inaugural U21 event of 1978, runners-up in 1990 and semi-finalists in 1980 and 1984.

• In 2017 qualifying, Serbia finished a point behind Group 2 winners Italy in second spot, winning seven of their ten fixtures and drawing two – losing only to Slovenia. As one of the four best runners-up, Serbia advanced to the play-offs where they beat Norway 2-1 over two legs (2-0 home, 0-1 away).

FYR Macedonia
• This is the first UEFA final tournament FYR Macedonia have ever qualified for; they played in the 2010 WU19 EURO as hosts.

• In qualifying for these finals, FYR Macedonia picked up 21 points to top Group 3, one point above France. They registered six wins and three draws in their ten fixtures; their 13 goals scored was the lowest total among the teams that progressed to Poland.

Coach and player links
• David Babunski was at Crvena zvezda between January 2016 and January 2017. His team-mates in Belgrade included Srdjan Plavšić, Marko Grujić, Vukašin Jovanović and Mihailo Ristić.

• Daniel Avramovski played for Crvena Zvezda from 2014–16, spending 2015/16 on loan at OFK Beograd.

• Tihomir Kostadinov was on the books at Moravac Mrštane in 2014/15.

Coach profiles

Nenad Lalatović, Serbia
Came through the youth ranks at Crvena zvezda and, after several loan stints elsewhere, won two league titles and two Serbia and Montenegro Cups before departing for Shakhtar Donetsk in 2003. A league champion in Ukraine in 2005, he had had a loan stay in Germany with Wolfsburg the previous year.

Finishing his playing days back in Serbia, hanging up his boots aged only 29. Swiftly moved into coaching, taking over at Srem in 2011 before short spells in charge of several other clubs, including Crvena zvzeda and Vojvodina. Appointed by Belgrade side Čukarički in late 2016, early the next year he assumed the Serbia U21 helm in addition to his club commitments.

Blagoja Milevski, FYR Macedonia
A defender whose playing career lasted almost three decades, Milevski started and finished at Vardar, in addition to interludes in Greece, Slovenia – where he won the cup with Maribor in 1994 – Turkey and Israel. A league champion in FYR Macedonia with Makedonija GjP in 2009, he quit playing 12 months later and moved into coaching as an assistant at Vardar in 2011.

Took over as head coach the following year, winning the Macedonian First League and Super Cup in 2013 and being named the country's coach of the year – an award he received again in 2016. Took the U21 reins in September 2014.