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Macedonia will host Albania in Strumica

UEFA confirmed that the Mladost stadium has the minimum requirements to host a World Cup qualifying game, so Macedonia - Albania will definitely be played in Strumica.

The idea of FFM to move some matches out of Skopje eventually will be realised. The original idea was to start with game against Israel, but the Mladost stadium still wasn't ready back than. The past several months all the necessary works had been done and this stadium today has what it takes to organize a qualifying match according to the UEFA requirements.

The Mladost stadium was built back in 1950, while in 2005 the capacity was expanded to 6.500. Recently the stadium hosted the 2017 Macedonian Cup final between Shkendija and Pelister, while this summer Macedonian teams will play their Europa League and Champions League matches there as well.

Macedonia will play against Albania on 05 September, three days after visiting Israel. The Strumica fans will be delighted to see their native Goran Pandev and his teammates after almost 8 years. Last time Macedonia played in Strumica was back in November 2009 when we defeated Canada 3:0 in a friendly game. Last time the national team played outside of the capital city was in November 2011 in Prilep in a goalless draw against the current opponent, Albania.

This will be the first time Macedonia to play a qualifying game outside of Skopje and the National Arena Philip II of Macedon. All 114 qualifying games played so far (58 for EUROs and 56 for World Cups) were played at the same venue in the same city. Strumica will write history in the Macedonian football with this event.

The Macedonian national team should play more games outside of the capital since the citizens of Skopje are totaly uninteresten in following the games. The 33.460 seats of Philip II were never sold out and even the likes of Spain and Italy who visited recently failed to attrack more than 20.000 fans. But, Serbian singer Željko Joksimović held a concert in front of 50.000 people three years ago. The only reason why Macedonia doesn't play in other cities is because all other stadiums are in bad condition. Construction works are underway in Bitola, Prilep, Tetovo and Shtip, but something just isn't right as none of those is even close to be completed.

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