Euro 2020 Preview: Group C
Written by The Final Ball on 21/05/2021
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I’m sure you’ve read the title, so let’s carry on with our Euro 2020 preview!
The Oranje have always been a funny team. Historically pleasing on the eye (Nigel De Jong aside), producers of some the greatest attacking talents that the world has seen from Cryuff all the way to Ruud Van Nistelrooy. But similar to Italy, one good tournament is usually followed by an awful one or failure to even qualify (WC 2010 finalists, Euro 2012 Group Stage, WC 2014 3rd Place, haven’t qualified for a tournament since). Now it was starting to look like Ronald Koeman arrived to change that until he jumped ship to Barcelona, and now Frank De Boer is doing his best to waste every last shred of talent available. Fortunately for them, the confirmation that Van Dijk won’t be available won’t hurt in the same way that it has done to Liverpool, as De Ligt, De Vrij, Ake, Blind & Botman will all compete to fill a Van Dijk shaped hole in the defence. Along with Wijnaldum, De Jong & Depay, there is experienced talent within this squad that will be backed up by Koopmeuneirs, Malen & Stengs, but whether De Boer is the guy to bring it all together in this favourable group remains to be seen
Player to Watch: Frenkie De Jong
Prediction: 2nd Round
Coached by “Chelsea Legend” Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine will finally feel that they have a chance to get out of the group stage, to the point that they won’t even fear the Netherlands. A young-ish team with Real Madrid prodigy Andriy Lunin in goal along with the experience of Yarmolenko and every other Ukrainian player that Football Manager told us would be great, combined with their great qualification record, they won’t feel any need to fear anybody in this group. Unfortunately for them, that might be where the fun ends and the nosebleeds starts.
Player to Watch: Viktor Tsygankov
Prediction: Top the group, but straight home in the knockouts
“Serial big tournament bottlers”, Austria never seem to do anything in these big tournaments, having not won at a major competition since 1990. And even with David Alaba & Marko Arnautovic, it doesn’t feel worth putting any expectations on them. Baumgartner & Sabitzer might add a little bit more to their attack and you imagine someone in the RB Salzburg squad has enough talent, but everything suggests that even if they can scrap through this group in 3rd place, they won’t be doing much else.
Player to Watch: Marcel Sabitzer
Prediction: Scrap for 3rd, probably won’t even get enough points to get through
The other debutant, and one that has benefitted from the Nations League format, North Macedonia will arrive expecting to be the whipping boys, especially with a negative goal difference in qualifiers. But the recent win against Germany will surely be encouraging for them. Realistically, they’ve come here with the hope of potentially winning a game and riding off into the sunset and with the legendary Goran Pandev and his long term heir Eljif Elmas, they do have it in them to throw carnage to one of these other teams just like they did to Germany in March.
Player to Watch: Goran Pandev
Prediction: They won’t go home completely empty handed, but they’re only playing 3 games max