With less than a month before a summer of international football, LWOF takes on the challenge of making Euro 2020 Group C predictions.
This is the third in a series of articles that will predict the outcome of all UEFA Euro 2020 groups. Group C consists of hosts Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria and debutants North Macedonia.
Euro 2020 Group C Predictions: Hosts Netherlands Face Strong Competition From Ukraine
The Netherlands Favorites, Despite Recent Struggles
Despite their recent struggles under Frank de Boer and missing Virgil van Dijk, the Netherlands are favourites to win their group. Their squad, although the weakest in years, is still the best compared to the rest of their Group C rivals.
Oranje obtained eleven points in their Nations League A group, losing just one match against Italy. The only other truly poor result was their 0-0 away against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Regardless, the Dutch performed better in the Nations League than any team in their group.
Also, they will enjoy home advantage in all group matches. A cause for concern is their 4-2 debacle against Turkey, but it was a good Turkish side and is too anecdotal to remove Oranje’s status as group favourites. Likewise, the absence of van Dijk should not be overestimated, even though it would be a blessing for any team to have him. Football is a team sport.
Ukraine a Worthy Adversary
Ukraine won six points in their Nations League A group but were relegated under the most unfortunate of circumstances. They were forced to forfeit their away match against Switzerland 3-0 due to a Covid-19 outbreak in their squad.
Ukraine could have remained in League A had it not been for that. The Yellow and Blue also performed well in the Euro qualifiers, winning their group undefeated and beating Portugal. However, they have failed to replicate this success in World Cup qualifying, unable to win a single match out of the three.
Fortunately for Ukraine, Austria have been worse. Despite winning their Nations League B group, the Austrians start to World Cup qualifying has been poor. Despite a 3-1 win versus the Faroe Islands and drawing 2-2 against Scotland, they lost 4-0 to Denmark. Elo ratings put Ukraine higher in their rankings than Austria. Ukraine will be a dark horse for many and it will be interesting to see how far they can go. Andriy Shevchenko has done a superb job, making Ukraine dream again.
Third Place Likely for Austria
Austria defeated North Macedonia home and away in Euro qualifying, but that was a year and a half ago and it’s obvious the Balkan side has improved since then, highlighted by their sensational win against Germany.
Despite their recent struggles, Austria should be favoured to finish above the Balkan side. North Macedonia’s overall results indicate that their win against Germany was a fluke, although deserved.
Their only other convincing win in these last nine months was against Liechtenstein and historically struggling Latvia. There are also marginal wins against Estonia, Georgia, Kosovo, Armenia and Israel, but they are all weaker sides than Austria.
As debutants, North Macedonia’s motivation will be through the roof, but that alone is not enough to grant them a successful tournament. Even if North Macedonia defy the odds and win a match, goal difference will likely spell the end of their tournament.
To read our predictions for other groups, click below.