Euro 2020: Pandev reveals all on ‘history makers’ North Macedonia
North Macedonia captain Goran Pandev has spoken of his pride in guiding his country to Euro 2020.
In an interview with FourFourTwo, Pandev spoke about making history in qualifying for the Euros and his future in football.
Pandev scored his first goal at an international tournament in North Macedonia’s 3-1 defeat to Austria, 2o years after making his national team debut.
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The 37-year-old also scored the decisive goal in North Macedonia’s playoff victory against Georgia, to guide them to their first ever European Championships.
The striker was part of Inter Milan‘s historic 2009-10 treble and is currently at Genoa.
Speaking on what it meant to qualify for the tournament, Pandev said: “We’ve made history and that will stay with us forever.
“When I first heard about the Nations League and how it would give one qualification spot to one of the League D teams, I saw it as a unique opportunity for Macedonia.
“Five years ago, we looked each other in the eyes and decided that we couldn’t miss out.
“Over 10,000 Georgians were waiting for us outside the stadium when we arrived. The atmosphere in Tbilisi was tense, as they really wanted to qualify, too,” Pandev said when asked about the playoff match against Georgia.
“Playing behind closed doors was an advantage for us – in my opinion, we were the better team and showed that.
“I remember my speech in the dressing room ahead of kick-off: I told my teammates that this could be my final game for the national team.
“I’m delighted to have scored the goal that sent us through – for our country, it was like winning the Euros. It was so emotional. Now let’s see if we can have our say at the Euros, too.”
The veteran striker is set to make his 121st cap this afternoon against Ukraine in Group C and will be looking to build on his 37 goal tally for his country.
He was also asked about his future in the international game, saying: “Some people have asked me to become president of our FA, but that’s not what I want.
“In 2010, I founded the Akademija Pandev in Strumica, where I was born. It’s a football academy for 400 boys, with a state-of-the-art training centre and 60 rooms for residential players.”
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