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North Macedonia veteran Pandev to retire from international football

Veteran captain Goran Pandev has confirmed he will retire from international football following minnows North Macedonia’s final Euro 2020 game against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Monday.

“This is my last game for the national team, I think it is the right moment to say goodbye,” Pandev, 37, told reporters on the eve of North Macedonia’s last game at their debut international tournament.

“I hope these guys, this generation, goes on to qualify for the World Cup.

“They bring a lot of joy to the North Macedonian people because they are quality players who play for good teams and I think they deserve to make it to the World Cup.”

Pandev, who has spent most of his club career in Italy, has enjoyed a two-decade long international career having made his debut for North Macedonia in June 2001.

It was his goal in a play-off against Georgia last November that secured his country’s place at Euro 2020, their first ever appearance in a major tournament finals.

Genoa forward Pandev also scored when North Macedonia claimed a shock 2-1 win in Germany in a World Cup qualifier in March.

He then netted in the 3-1 defeat by Austria in Bucharest in their first outing at the Euro, becoming the second oldest goalscorer in European Championship history in the process.

North Macedonia lost 2-1 to Ukraine in their second Group C game last Thursday meaning they cannot now qualify for the last 16 going into their match against the Netherlands.

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