Similar to Group B, EURO 2020 Group C features one firm favorite in the Dutch and three teams who will battle for the second and third spot. While the betting odds heavily favor the Oranje to win their group, we can expect strong resistance from Ukraine, Austria, and the tournament newcomers, North Macedonia.
EURO 2020 Group C Fixtures
Austria vs North Macedonia – Sunday, June 13
Netherlands vs Ukraine – Sunday, June 13
Ukraine vs North Macedonia – Thursday, June 17
Netherlands vs Austria – Thursday, June 17
North Macedonia vs Netherlands – Monday, June 21
Ukraine vs Austria – Monday, June 21
Netherlands – Back in Action
After failing to qualify for back-to-back major football tournaments, the Dutch are back and they couldn’t have picked a better group to start their EURO 2020 journey. Featuring teams that the Oranje should – on paper – make easy work of while enjoying the luxury of playing all three of their games at home.
Netherlands’ road back to international football started with Ronald Koeman, who ended up leaving his international duties behind as soon as Barcelona came knocking on his door. He left the reins of the team in the hands of Frank de Boer, who will now look to finish what his compatriot has started.
Changes to the team’s playstyle were very noticeable as soon as de Boer joined the team, moving to a more risk-averse football that wasn’t very entertaining to watch, nor did it earn the team any good results – particularly on the road. Changes followed after complaints from the fans and media, with de Boer again re-transforming the team with emphasis on possession in the final third.
This change enabled Netherlands’ key striker Memphis Depay who enters EURO 2020 as his side’s key weapon against the opponents. He is coming off an excellent season with Lyon, having scored 26 goals in 48 games, proving himself as a natural number nine.
If you’re looking to back Depay on the top goalscorer market, you should feel confident in his ability to end the tournament on a high note, primarily due to Netherlands’ creative and robust midfield. With De Jong dictating the tempo of the game and Gini Wijnaldum by his side, opportunities for Depay to increase his value will be plenty.
The Netherlands have a well-rounded team and the talent to compete for top spots. One thing that makes us slightly doubtful about the Oranje’s chances to push for gold, however, is the absence of Virgil van Dijk, who is out with an injury, leaving behind a large void.
With the Liverpool star out of the picture, Netherlands will leak a few more goals as usual, but even that isn’t enough for us to believe they’ll struggle too much in this group.
Austria – Mediocre and Underwhelming
It’s been years since Austria’s impressive run through the EURO 2016 qualifiers. At the time, Das Team were widely regarded as a punch-up underdog heading into the tournament, but all the excitement quickly faded after Austria’s disappointing showings on the big stage.
Five years have passed since, and Das Team continue to go give off an underwhelming vibe as a team that hasn’t made much progress heading into their third European Championship. It’s hard to be overly excited about this side, but perhaps it’s not as difficult as it’s watching their defensive-minded playstyle.
It’s an unfortunate situation we’re witnessing since Austria definitely has enough talented players on the team. That talent, however, very rarely shows, and that’s mainly due to Franco Foda’s unwillingness to step away from a risk-free playbook.
This brings up the second problem with Das Team, which is questionable quality in the back. Putting all your effort into defending your side of the pitch with a fragile backline can’t be good, and it definitely hasn’t proved to be the best approach – with Austria conceding goals against the likes of Faroe Islands, Scotland, and Ireland.
Adding the cherry on the cake, Austria traditionally struggles in major competitions. They have not won a single match in their last two big tournaments, going 0-4-5, all the while scoring only five goals.
North Macedonia – No Pressure
The Balkan nation that lives and breathes football got overwhelmed by emotions that November night when their national team secured their first-ever major tournament ticket after a narrow yet well-deserved 1-0 victory against Georgia. Since gaining independence 30 years ago, North Macedonia waited for this moment, and now it’s their time to shine.
While the story is inspiring, Risovi enter EURO 2020 as nothing more than an underdog, and that’s completely fine. Knowing that there are no expectations on their shoulders will help North Macedonia play pressure-free, and they should be happy to get a place in a relatively manageable group.
As the lowest-rated team at the tournament (62nd on the FIFA World Rankings), Risovi aren’t expected to move any mountains, but they could prove to be a resilient side to face for those underestimating them. As early as this March, North Macedonia beat Germany, which is noithing to sneeze at, even though Germany aren’t the same powerhouse they once were.
With ageing Serie A legend Goran Pandev as their key player and no star players elsewhere, expecting much from Igor Angelovski’s side might be a bit optimistic. However, they can at least look to exploit the shaky Austrians and aim to end the group stage in third.
Ukraine – Underappreciated and Undervalued
Ukraine has gone through quite a turbulent period, spearheaded by the nation’s conflict with Russians, that forced its football team to move locations. The team then faced another challenge when COVID-19 hit, which took the life of team doctor Anton Khudaiev.
What ensued spelt disaster for the Ukrainian side, with over a dozen players dropping out of the team. It’s fair to say that Ukrainians have had one of the worst preparations for EURO 2020, yet the team pulled through.
To fill in the gaps left behind by players who left the team, Andriy Shevchenko mobilised the secondary team and called up a few U21 players to represent their nation.
A situation that would leave you very doubtful about Ukraine’s chances to succeed – until you take a look at their results.
Ukraine rose from ashes with a new roster and went unbeaten in the EURO 2020 qualifiers, finishing ahead of Portugal, Serbia, Luxemburg, and Lithuania with a 6-2-0 record.
Shevchenko left quite a statement with that run and quickly established his side as an outsider that could shock and make a deep run. If their showings over the year are any indication, this iteration of the team will continue to make noise in major tournaments for years to come.
Looking at the group Ukraine got placed in, the Yellow-Blues should do more than fine against Austria and North Macedonia, but the home field advantage Oranje will enjoy will likely make them too strong of an opponent to beat for the Ukrainians.
EURO 2020 Group C Prediction
Prediction: Netherlands & Ukraine (Group Dual Forecast) – 1 unit – 2.10 at Bet365