Spain will take the first step on its route to the 2023 World Cup this Friday in Skopje against North Macedonia, in a match that will be televised live on Teledepprte (19:30). The National Team under the command of Sergio Scariolo traveled this Thursday from Guadalajara, where it has remained concentrated since Monday, heading to the Macedonian capital. Tomorrow morning he will have a final preparatory session on the Sport Center Jane Sandanski court.

The 16 players called up have traveled to Skopje, who will also travel to Jaén on Saturday.

North Macedonia has reached this qualifying phase after passing the pre-qualifying phase, which concluded this past summer. His balance was 2 victories in 4 games, one against Switzerland and the other against Slovakia. Mekikj was his leading scorer (15 points on average) and Jacob Wiley his best rebounder (7.5). The nationalized American center is the main reference of the game of a team that likes speed.

All the matches in this first qualifying phase are extremely important, since the results of the three Windows -6 matches- will drag on in the classification with which the second and final phase will start.

Scariolo: “We have to try to start with energy and intensity”

The national coach, Sergio Scariolo, has valued the work of all the players: “We have worked well. All the players have had an excellent attitude and we have to appreciate it and thank them for it. They come from a demanding season with their clubs and are making an important effort with the National Team ”.

The coach also pointed out that “away games have a point of uncertainty due to the environmental factor and we are facing a rival who will surely put us in difficulties. We have to try to start on the right foot, with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and intensity because this is our identity and whoever is there has to be the formula with which we always face matches. I am counting on it to be so ”.

López-Aróstegui: “We have to try to do a good job outside and at home”

For the forward of the Selection Xabi López-Aróstegui, “we are a solid block that has already experienced many windows and we want to do a good job, starting with Friday.” The goal, he says, is “to try to play a good role and win games both away and at home, to be focused on us.” “Personally, I am happy to be with the National Team and with many gains from competing.”