Euro 2020: Igor Angelovski includes three prospects in North Macedonia squad

Uncapped 22-year-old goalkeeper Riste Jankov and 23-year-old forward Milan Ristovski made it to the 26-man squad alongside midfielder Darko Churlinov, who made his debut in a 2017 friendly against Belarus.

Igor Angelovski called up three upcoming talents for European Championships.   -  REUTERS

North Macedonia coach Igor Angelovski called up three upcoming talents for the June 11-July 11 European championship on Thursday as the Balkan nation aims to make an impact in its maiden appearance on the big stage.

Uncapped 22-year-old goalkeeper Riste Jankov and 23-year-old forward Milan Ristovski made it to the 26-man squad alongside midfielder Darko Churlinov, who made his debut in a 2017 friendly against Belarus.

The 20-year-old Churlinov has not featured at senior level since but earned a spot at Euro 2020 after scoring five goals in 16 games for the Under-21 side, while Ristovski has been in fine form for his club Spartak Trnava.

"The three of them deserve to be at the Euro 2020 because they are the future of (North) Macedonian football and are also playing regularly for their clubs," Angelovski told a news conference.

"This is a great group of players and I believe in them. They have achieved a historic success by qualifying and we will now do everything in our power to make an impact.

"We have set our ambitions high and as our goal is to reach the knockout stages. It’s been an incredible journey and we now have to be focused on the task ahead."

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North Macedonia is in Group C alongside the Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria. They play Austria on June 13 and Ukraine on June 17 in Bucharest before facing the Dutch in Amsterdam four days later.

Having won its fourth-tier group in the 2018-19 Nations League, North Macedonia advanced to Euro 2020 with a 1-0 victory at Georgia in its playoff final last November following a 2-1 home win over neighbours Kosovo.

The success proved to be a major confidence boost as the North Macedonians also made a good start to their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with two wins in the opening three games, including a stunning 2-1 away defeat of Germany in March.

Angelovski was confident the result showed his side was capable of mixing it with Europe's best.

"Our win against Germany has shown that we have the ability to stand our ground against the top teams," he said. "The Euro 2020 group gives us a chance to reach the last 16 but we will have to be at our very best in all three games."

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Stole Dimitrievski (Rayo Vallecano), Damjan Shishkovski (Doxa), Riste Jankov (Rabotnicki Skopje)

Defenders: Stefan Ristovski (Dinamo Zagreb), Visar Musliu (Fehervar), Egzon Bejtulai (Shkendija), Kire Ristevski (Ujpest), Gjoko Zajkov (Charleroi), Darko Velkovski (Rijeka), Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United)

Midfielders: Arijan Ademi (Dinamo Zagreb), Enis Bardhi (Levante), Stefan Spirovski (AEK Larnaca), Boban Nikolov (Lecce), Tihomir Kostadinov (Ruzomberok), Ferhan Hasani (Partizani Tirana), Eljif Elmaz (Napoli), Daniel Avramovski (Kayzerispor), Darko Churlinov (Vfb Stuttgart), Marjan Radeski (Akademija Pandev)

Forwards: Goran Pandev (Genoa), Aleksandar Trajkovski (Real Mallorca), Ivan Trichkovski (AEK Larnaca), Vlatko Stojanovski(Chambly), Krste Velkovski (Sarajevo), Milan Ristovski (Spartak Trnava).

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