With a spot at Euro 2024 in Germany already secured, this final Group C match-up was nevertheless an opportunity for Gareth Southgate to rotate his squad, and Rico Lewis was in the thick of the action from the very start of making his debut.
England also knew that they needed at least a point to guarantee a top seeding for the group stage draw, and Declan Rice supplied his best effort to put his side ahead, striking against the post from outside the box inside 15 minutes.
Despite a heavy 5-2 defeat, already-eliminated North Macedonia made a strong account of themselves against Italy, and they handed the visitors a warning as Elif Elmas was denied a penalty after being bundled over by Harry Maguire.
The home side continued to play their own game, and England weren’t so fortunate second time around as referee Filip Glova judged Lewis’ aerial challenge on Bojan Miovski enough for a spot kick after a VAR review.
Southgate’s half-time words clearly impacted his players, and Jack Grealish almost immediately had the ball in the net following Bukayo Saka’s slaloming run, but they were kept waiting for an equaliser as it was retrospectively ruled out for offside.
That goal was the 200th of Southgate’s 91 matches in charge, and extending that tally was beginning to look increasingly unlikely, as England struggled to break down the spirited North Macedonia backline.
In fact, Nikola Serafimov’s late effort was the closest either side came to a winner, and Blagoja Milevski can be proud that his team were able to snatch a positive result against European royalty.
A distinctly lacklustre display to end England's Euro 2024 qualifying campaign was nevertheless England’s sixth away match unbeaten, and the Three Lions should now avoid the best European sides in the group stage.