Next in line for the review is Group C.
Group C: Austria, Netherlands, Ukraine, North Macedonia
This is Austria’s 3rd Euro. Their debut was in 2008 as the host, then they played at the 2016 Euro in France. Unfortunately, they didn’t record a win in either attempt. Austria is not a country that people associate with football – it’s more of an alpine skiing country. But in recent years it’s clear that Austrian football has been progressing. RB Salzburg is a regular Champions League team recently, more and more Austrian players go to the German Bundesliga, and of course, their biggest star is Real Madrid’s new addition – David Alaba. This group looks like the perfect stage for them to win at least one game, but they even have the chance to progress if they play their cards well.
This is not the best Netherlands team we’ve seen. It’s clear that “The tulips” have a problem replacing the retired Sneijder, Robben, and van Persie and who could blame them. It’s impossible to replace players of that magnitude. Oranje will be missing their captain and leader Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool, but even without him, they shouldn’t have problems with progressing out of the group. The Netherlands has very good defenders and midfielders which is the recipe for tournament glory. But in comparison with the other big favorites for the crown, they look a bit out of favor.
North Macedonia is an absolute debutant at any kind of international tournament. They’ve never played at either the Euros or World Cup. They were separated from Yugoslavia in 1991 and have been a part of FIFA and UEFA since 1994. But yet with hard work, determination, and intransigence, they are living their dream. The biggest star of the team is the ageless Goran Pandev. He’s also the captain and the leading goal-scorer for North Macedonia. Pandev also scored the only goal against Georgia in the decisive play-off for a spot at Euro 2020, so the tournament will be the perfect arena for him to put an end to his 20-year career with the national team. Their chances of progression aren’t very big, but North Macedonia already proved they shall never be written off.
This is Ukraine’s 3rd Euro participation – 3rd in a row. Manager Andriy Shevchenko has been in charge since 2016, and the “Yellow blue” plays better and better with every international pause. He’s learned from some of the best managers in history such as Carlo Ancelotti and Valeri Lobanovski. Most of the players are from the local “Ukraine Premier Liga”, but alongside them, there is a lot of quality from teams like Manchester City, West Ham, and Atalanta. Ukraine definitely has the potential to become the surprise of the tournament.
I have written breakdowns of Group A and B already, and here’s link to the previous 2 groups: