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North Macedonia's Angelovski to step down after Euro 2020 exit

FOOTBALL By Reuters | June 22nd 2021
June 21, 2021 North Macedonia coach Igor Angelovski after the match Pool via REUTERS

North Macedonia head coach Igor Angelovski said he would step down following their Euro 2020 group stage exit after they were beaten 3-0 by the Netherlands in their final match on Monday.

"This is my last press conference in this capacity as my contract with the Macedonian football federation expires on July 31 and I will not be in charge anymore," Angelovski told a news conference.

"I will remember this moment for the rest of my life. I want to thank my staff, the players and also my family for all their support. It's been an honour to be at the helm of this team at a European championship."

Euro 2020 was the first major tournament North Macedonia had reached as an independent nation since they gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and Angelovski was pleased with their effort despite three straight defeats.

They were beaten 3-1 by Austria and 2-1 by Ukraine in their opening two Group C games before suffering a rout by the Dutch, who missed a string of chances to win by a bigger margin.

"We wanted to do better but no one should be disappointed because it was our debut on the big stage and all I can do is thank the players for their effort," said Angelovski.

The 45-year old coach follows in the footsteps of captain Goran Pandev, who turns 38 in July and played his last game for North Macedonia after announcing over the weekend that he would hang up his international boots after the tournament.

Pandev was given a fitting farewell at the Johan Cruyff Arena as the Dutch team gave him an orange shirt symbolising 122 appearances for his country while his team mates formed a guard of honour when he was substituted in the second half.

Angelovski, whose first task was to bring Pandev back from international retirement when he took charge of North Macedonia in 2015, heaped praise on the Genoa forward.

"This team made history by reaching Euro 2020 and we must thank Pandev for everything he has done for Macedonian football," he said.

"It’s been a privilege to work for five and a half years with a man and a player who led by example and set the bar high for future generations."

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