North Macedonia stunned Germany 2-1 in the World Cup 2022 qualifiers to hand the four-time World Champions their first world cup qualifier loss in 20 years. Goran Pandev gave North Macedonia a first half lead before Germany levelled with a penalty from Ilkay Gundogan in the 63rd minute.
However, Napoli midfielder, Eljif Elmas’ dodged a goal in the 85th minute to take his team to a famous victory. The loss will be right up there with Germany’s most shocking upsets including their 6-0 drubbing against Spain last November and a group stage exit in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“The disappointment is huge,” coach Joachim Loew said post the match. “We had a good basis after the first two games (wins over Iceland and Romania),” added Loew. “The goal was nine points and the fact that we gave that away is our own fault.”
Loew is expected to step down from his post after Euro 2020 in July after 15 years in charge.
“It shouldn’t have been allowed to happen,” stand-in captain Gundogan said. “It felt as though North Macedonia only got near our goal twice and scored twice—it was too easy. We had chances and only scored one goal.”
North Macedonia are ranked 65th and have never featured in the World Cup but will make their tournament debut at the European championship this year.
Before the game, Germany showed banners that displayed ‘Wir sind 30’ which means ‘We are 30’, referring to the United Nations’ 30 point declaration of Human Rights. Throughout the tournament, Germans have protested against the World Cup 2022 hosts, Qatar, who have been criticized for their treatment of migrant workers, many of whom are involved in preparation for the World Cup next year.