Mark Temnycky –
Netherlands vs Ukraine – Sunday, 13 June 2021 – 20:00 BST/21:00 CEST – Johan Cruyff Area, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The 2020 European Championships are here. The Netherlands will face Ukraine on Matchday 1 in Group C. The game will be played in Amsterdam on Sunday, 13 June.
Having missed out on the 2016 European Championships and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Netherlands have finally returned to an international competition. This will be an entirely new team, as many of the 2014 FIFA World Cup competitors have retired, and the Oranje’s current young players will be excited to showcase their talent.
Since their rebuild, the Netherlands have performed well in competitive matches. During the inaugural 2017/18 UEFA Nations League, the Dutchmen won their League A group ahead of France and Germany. The Netherlands then progressed to the competition’s semi-finals, where they defeated England. Unfortunately for the Oranje, they fell short in the competition’s final, where they lost to EURO 2016 winners Portugal.
The Netherlands then qualified for the 2020 European Championships after competing against Germany and Northern Ireland, and the Oranje retained their position in the UEFA Nations League’s prestigious League A by defeating the likes of Italy, Poland, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Given their recent successes, the Netherlands are ready to compete at this summer’s tournament.
Ukraine, on the other hand, will be much more unpredictable. Ukraine enjoyed early successes under the managerial tenure of Andriy Shevchenko. During the 2017/18 UEFA Nations League, the Zbirna won their League B group ahead of Slovakia and Czechia. The Ukrainians kept a clean sheet in two of these four matches, and were promoted to the competition’s League A.
The Zbirna continued their successes during the EURO 2020 qualifiers. Ukraine were undefeated in this qualification campaign, they earned five clean sheets in eight matches, and they won their group ahead of Portugal and Serbia. Ukraine were also undefeated in the entire 2019 calendar year. Based on these performances, many tipped Ukraine to be a dark horse during the 2020 European Championships. The tournament, however, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Recent results for Ukraine have been a cause for concern. During the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League, Ukraine were heavily defeated by Germany and Spain. They were also struck by several coronavirus cases, which made competing in the Nations League all the more difficult. More recently, Ukraine earned draws against Finland and Kazakhstan in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, and a 1-1 draw against Bahrain in an international friendly. Should the Zbirnahope to avoid another embarrassment of EURO 2016, the Ukrainians will need to be more clinical in front of goal. Otherwise, they could face another early exit in this competition.
Overall, this should be an exciting matchup against the Netherlands and Ukraine. How will these two sides start their EURO 2020 campaigns?
Netherlands vs Ukraine – Players to Watch:
Memphis Depay #10 – Netherlands (Olympic Lyonnaise)
The bookmakers have tipped Dutch forward Memphis Depay as one of the frontrunners to win the Golden Boot at EURO 2020, and with good reason. The Dutchman has had quite a career at French Club Olympique Lyonnaise. He has scored 76 goals in 178 appearances in all competitions. Depay has also scored 26 goals in 64 appearances for the Oranje. He is currently on the verge of breaking into the Netherlands’ top-ten goal scorers.
Given these statistics, it is no wonder that he is being sought by some of the best clubs in European football. Having played for Lyon for five years, the Dutchman is now being scouted by the likes of Juventus and Barcelona. A strong performance at the EUROs will likely see him transfer to one of these top clubs.
Roman Yaremchuk #9 – Ukraine (Gent)
Ukrainian striker Roman Yaremchuk will have big boots to fill. Since the retirement of Shevchenko, the Zbirna have struggled to find an adequate striker. Roman Zozulya and Artem Kravets were given the nod during Ukraine’s 2014 FIFA World Cup and EURO 2016 qualifiers, but they only managed 12 goals in a combined 56 appearances. Due to the lack of goals, it is no wonder why Ukraine were eliminated quickly in EURO 2016.
Yaremchuk was impressive during the EURO 2020 qualifiers. His goals against Serbia, Luxembourg, and Portugal helped Ukraine win their qualification group. Yaremchuk has also performed well at Gent, where he has scored 61 goals in 152 appearances. Should he continue this form, Ukraine could advance out of the EURO group stages for the first time in their history.
Netherlands vs Ukraine – Match Statistics:
- This is the first competitive match between the Netherlands and Ukraine. The Oranje previously faced the Zbirnain two international friendlies. The Dutchmen won once and drew once. The Dutch outscored the Ukrainians by four goals to one.
- The Netherlands will be without Virgil van Dijk and Donny van de Beek as both could not travel due to their respective injuries.
- Ukraine’s Yevhen Konoplyanka, Viktor Buyalskyi, and Júnior Moraes are all injured and did not travel for EURO 2020.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Netherlands vs Ukraine – 2-1
Netherlands vs Ukraine – Possible Lineups:
Krul – Dumfries, de Ligt, Blind, Wijndal – de Roon, Wijnaldum, de Jong – Berghuis, Depay, Malen
Manager: Frank de Boer
Bushchan – Karavayev, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Mykolenko – Malinovskyi, Stepanenko, Zinchenko – Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Tsygankov
Manager: Andriy Shevchenko
Mark Temnycky is an AIPS accredited freelance 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. Mark will be covering Ukraine for Futbolgrad during the 2020 European Championships. Follow him @MTemnycky