358 views | Stanley Ugagbe | April 1, 2021
For the first time in 20 years, 2014 champions, Germany on Wednesday lost a World Cup qualifying football game as they were beaten 2-1 by North Macedonia.
Coach Joachim Low’s men levelled after Goran Pandev’s opening goal in first-half stoppage time but had no answer to Eljif Elmas’ 85th-minute winner for North Macedonia, who moved above Germany into second place in Group J.
Skipper, Pandev had opened the scoring when Germany’s defence completely lost track of the veteran Genoa forward and it was Ilkay Gundogan who equalised from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute after Leroy Sane was brought down by Ezgjan Alioski.
But as Germany pushed for another goal, it was North Macedonia who made the breakthrough. Arijan Ademi squared the ball through Antonio Rudiger’s legs as Pandev drew away the German defenders, leaving space for Elmas to score past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
It should be noted that Germany had gone 35 games unbeaten in World Cup qualifying since a 5-1 loss to England in Munich in 2001, and had won its last 18 in a row.
North Macedonia have never played at a World Cup but will make their tournament debut at the European Championship this year after Pandev scored the winning goal in a playoff against Georgia in November.
Meanwhile, the defeat was the last qualifying game in the 15-year reign of Germany coach Joachim Low, who is stepping down after the European Championship in June and July.