The Armenian national football Team returns to action on Thursday in Yerevan. They will take on North Macedonia on Matchday 9 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualification Tournament.
North Macedonia is a nation they are familiar with on the football pitch as this will be their sixth meeting in the past two major tournaments. As of now, the matchups have been split, with both teams winning two games in their four matchups for the UEFA Nations League back in 2018 through 2020 and tying most recently, 0-0, in World Cup qualifiers.
This win is crucial to Armenia’s chance to compete in the 2022 World Cup as they currently sit in fourth place behind Germany, Romania, and North Macedonia with only two games left on the schedule.
Armenia and North Macedonia have two completely different play styles. In their past meetings back in the UEFA Nations League, Armenia earned more convincing victories reaching a positive goal differential of two in the split series. However, Macedonia clearly won the possession battle averaging more than sixty percent of the possession throughout the five most recent matchups.
Armenia tends to play the counter-attacking game, sitting back waiting for the right opportunity to press and once the opponent makes the mistake, then they create dangerous runs with their skillful and pacy attackers. Historic goals leader and captain Henrikh Mkhitaryan often creates the break for Sargis Adamyan, Tigran Barseghyan, and newcomer Lucas Zalarayán, who are players all capable of beating their defender and advancing on goal.
Armenia’s issue most recently has been their overall composure throughout the game. Once the attacker makes that dangerous play towards a scoring opportunity, there have been too many times where the player either miss-hits a capable shot or rushes a chance that requires more patience.
On the defensive end, once the defenders make the tackle to gain the ball, that player lacks the composure to make the right pass breaking the line of press. Instead, the defender usually turns the ball back over and has to work back on defense becoming overwhelmed with the constant attack. These problems are fixable with focus and confidence which are both necessary if they want to advance to the World Cup in Qatar.