Macedonians flocked onto the streets on Thursday night to celebrate their football team’s unexpected victory against Italy, bringing the team within reach of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

North Macedonia Celebrates Stunning World Cup Win Over Italy

People celebrate in Skopje after North Macedonia’s football team beat Italy. Photo: EPA-EFE/GEORGI LICOVSKI

North Macedonia shocked the football world – and itself – by sensationally eliminating European champions Italy from the World Cup qualifiers on Thursday night in Palermo.

The central square in the nation’s capital, Skopje, had not seen such large crowds in years, as people gathered to party. Similar festive celebrations took place in other towns nationwide.

North Macedonia secured the 1-0 victory in the World Cup qualification semi-final play-off, away from home, after scoring in stoppage time at the end of the second half.

“This is for my family and for the whole of Macedonia,” Aleksandar Trajkovski, who scored the winning goal, told the media.

North Macedonia Celebrates Stunning World Cup Win Over Italy

North Macedonian players celebrate the winning goal against Italy during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 play-off qualifying match. Photo: EPA-EFE/CARMELO IMBESI

The celebrations in Skopje and other towns lasted well into Thursday night.

The sensational win knocked Italy out of the qualification rounds, and heightened hopes in North Macedonia that the country could qualify for the World Cup for the first time in its history.

For these hopes to become reality, however, North Macedonia has one more match to go, against European footballing superpower Portugal, on Tuesday evening.

North Macedonia Celebrates Stunning World Cup Win Over Italy

Fans cheer and wave North Macedonian flags in Skopje after the country’s win over Italy. EPA-EFE/GEORGI LICOVSKI

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