Mark Temnycky –
Austria, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, and Ukraine have been placed in Euro 2020 Group C. Austria will face North Macedonia on Matchday 1 while the Netherlands will take on Ukraine. The group stages matches will take place in Romania and the Netherlands.
A brief preview of each national team, as well as each country’s, predicted impact player and predicted starting XI have been provided below.
EURO 2020 – Group C – Breakdown:
Having been placed in a group with the Netherlands, it is predicted that Austria and Ukraine will have to fight for second in this group. Das Team performed well in the recent 2020/21 UEFA Nations League, where they faced Norway, Romania, and Northern Ireland. Austria won four of these six matches, meaning they were promoted to the competition’s prestigious League A.
Recent results in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and their friendly results leading up to EURO 2020, may be a cause for concern. Austria performed well against weaker opposition, but Das Team earned draws and losses to more difficult opponents. Given these mixed results, it will be interesting to see how the Austrians perform at the EUROs.
Interesting Fact: This will be Austria’s third appearance at the European Championships. Das Team failed to advance past the group stage during these previous two features.
Predicted Impact Player: Saša Kalajdžić (VfB Stuttgart)
Predicted Starting XI: Bachmann – Lainer, Dragović, Hinteregger, Ulmer – Lazaro, Grillitsch, Sabitzer, Alaba – Kalajdžić, Baumgartner
The Netherlands are the favorites in this group. During the inaugural 2018/19 UEFA Nations League, the Netherlands finished as runners-up in the tournament. The Netherlands then had a strong showing in the 2020/21 competition, although they narrowly lost out on a place in the competition’s finals. They also finished second in their EURO 2020 qualification group.
The biggest story surrounding the Oranje is that they will be without talisman Virgil van Dijk. Matthijs de Ligt and Daley Blind have stepped up to the task, but they have looked shaky in the heart of defense on a few occasions. Given some of these concerns, the Dutch will need to be defensively sound if they hope to challenge for the 2020 European Championship trophy.
Interesting Fact: The Netherlands won the European Championships in 1988. The Oranje also finished third on four occasions.
Predicted Impact Player: Memphis Depay (Olympique Lyonnaise)
Predicted Starting XI: Krul – Dumfries, de Ligt, Blind, Wijndal – de Roon, Wijnaldum, de Jong – Berghuis, Depay, Malen
Not much will be expected from North Macedonia in Group C as they are favored to be eliminated from the competition following the group stages. With this in mind, the North Macedonians will have little to lose. Given few will be familiar with the Risovi, they can use this tournament as an opportunity to showcase their style of football, and their national team.
The biggest challenge for North Macedonia in this group will be to earn a result in one of their fixtures against three difficult opponents. Given their defensive strengths, and their ability to play on the counterattack, North Macedonia will have the opportunity to play spoiler in this group. Having recently defeated Germany in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification match, North Macedonia will be confident that they can take on any opponent in this match.
Interesting Fact: North Macedonia qualified for their first international tournament by defeating Georgia in the EURO 2020 Play-off Final in Group D. The Risovi will look to put on a good show in Group C.
Predicted Impact Player: Goran Pandev
Predicted Starting XI: Dimitrievski – Ristovski, Velkovski, Musliu – Nikolov, Bardhi, Ademi, Elmas, Alioski – Pandev, Trajkovski
Given their performances during the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League and the EURO 2020 qualification campaign, the Ukrainians should be challenging the Netherlands and Austria for one of the top two positions in this group. Ukraine kept two clean sheets in two of their four 2018/19 Nations League matches, and five clean sheets in eight qualification matches during the EURO qualifiers. In other words, they were defensively sound in these two cycles.
Ukraine, however, are one of the losers of a postponed European competition. Following the restart of international football, the Zbirna were outplayed by Germany and Spain in the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League. More recently, they earned three draws in their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifies against France, Finland, and Kazakhstan. With these inconsistent results, the biggest problem for Ukraine will be which version of the Zbirna will arrive for the 2020 European Championships. Will they mimic their superb 2018 and 2019 seasons, and act as a potential dark horse in EURO 2020? Or will they mirror their embarrassing performances at the 2016 European Championships?
Interesting Fact: Ukraine went undefeated in their EURO 2020 qualification group, and they finished ahead of EURO 2016 Champions Portugal. Ukraine also were undefeated in the 2019 calendar year.
Predicted Impact Player: Ruslan Malinovskyi (Atalanta)
Predicted Starting XI: Bushchan – Karavayev, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Mykolenko – Malinovskyi, Stepanenko, Zinchenko – Tsygankov, Yaremchuk, Yarmolenko
EURO 2020 Predictions:
Netherlands – Group C Winners
Ukraine – Group C Runners-up
Austria – Third, Qualify for knockout stages
North Macedonia – Eliminated from EURO 2020 after the group stages
Top goal scorer in Group C – Memphis Depay (Netherlands, Olympique Lyonnaise)
Most clean sheets – Tim Krul (Netherlands, Norwich City)
Mark Temnycky is an AIPS accredited journalist who covers the Ukrainian men’s national team and Ukrainian clubs competing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for the Futbolgrad Network. Follow him @MTemnycky