However, their first match at Euro 2020 with the controversial shirts did not bring them success.
Greece has sent a formal complaint to UEFA President Alexander Cheferin over the teams of Northern Macedonia’s Euro 2020 football team.
The letter, signed by Greek Sports Minister Lefteris Avgenakis, said the T-shirt’s FFM (Football Federation of Macedonia) logo lacked the letter “North”.
From February 12, 2019, after the Prespa Agreement, Macedonia officially changed its name to the Republic of Northern Macedonia, reminded by the Greek side. Therefore, the emblem of the teams must have the cyrilic letter “C”/latin “N” (for North) and it should read FFSM (FFNM in Latin).
The Greek sports minister also called on UEFA to pay general attention to the name, which is generally used by the country’s football federation, because it has nothing to do with the country’s new name.
“We would like to inform you that on the occasion of the post of the President of the Football Federation of Northern Macedonia Muammad Seydini in his personal social media account, the Greek Football Federation draws attention to the following:
It is sad, even outrageous, that issues governed by international conventions arise out of nowhere before the start of Euro 2020 and the participation of Northern Macedonia in it. The IOC and international sports federations, including football, have recognized Northern Macedonia as a member. Any other arbitrary self-designation is outside the generally applicable regulatory framework and is therefore unrealistic, “the letter said.
Avgenakis has sent a similar letter of protest to northern Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani.
Just a week ago, Ukraine’s national team sparked a similar scandal after showing its teams a map depicting the country’s borders and Russia’s annexed Crimean peninsula.
Dispute over abbreviations
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias also sent a letter to his Macedonian counterpart, Bujar Osmani. Dendias has urged Skopje to use the abbreviation “NM” (Northern Macedonia) or “RNM” (Republic of Northern Macedonia) instead of “MKD”, Greek diplomatic sources said.
The first diplomat of Athens also stressed that the issue should be resolved by changing the name of the football federation, and urged Osmani to intervene to resolve these issues within the framework of good neighborly relations.
However, Osmani stated that the football federation of his country does not receive money from the state, and therefore the Prespa Treaty does not apply to it.
“The Prespa agreement covers institutions that receive state money. As FFM does not receive such money, it is not obliged to adjust to the provisions of this contract. The trademarks are clearly defined there: the code is MKD, “the Macedonian foreign minister commented.
However, the first match of Northern Macedonia with the shirts in question turned out to be unsuccessful. The team lost 1: 3 to Austria in a Group C match played in Bucharest. The goals for the success were scored by Stefan Liner in the 18th minute, Michael Gregoric in the 78th and Marko Arnautovic in the 89th. For Austria, this was the first European Championship victory in history.
The consolation for the team of Northern Macedonia remained that it already has the first goal in the history of the country at the continental championship. He was scored by the most experienced football player in the team – the 37-year-old Genoa striker Goran Pandev.
Goran Pandev is considered the greatest Macedonian player of all time. He is 37 years old and is actually older than his homeland. Northern Macedonia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, making Pandev virtually seven years older than his country. This is how the English sports site talksport.com began its material about him. The veteran qualified Northern Macedonia for EURO 2020, after scoring the winning goal in the decisive playoff against Georgia.
Pandev was born in Strumica, which at the time was still part of the former Yugoslavia. The striker has spent most of his career in Italy, playing for some of the best clubs at the highest level – Lazio, Inter and Napoli.
He is part of one of Inter’s greatest pages in the club’s recent history, when he won a treble under Jose Mourinho in the 2009/10 season. Pandev is the first Macedonian to score 100 goals in one of the Top 5 European Championships.
“It was a dream for all of us to go play at such a big forum,” he said after his team’s ranking.
Pandev received recognition for his sports achievements and his contribution to the development and promotion of sports in Macedonia by receiving a medal of merit, presented personally by the President of the country.
Meanwhile, Polish television declared Ukraine Russia, and Northern Macedonia was represented under the Finnish flag. The Croatian was replaced by the Swiss.
The national team of Ukraine is represented by the flag of Russia, England is represented by the flag of Wales, the Netherlands “carries” that of Belgium. The latest inaccuracy of TVPSport is the Danish flag against the name of Austria.
Both the starting hours are correct, as well as the groups in which the teams are located.