EURO 2020-21: Group C – Preview

Introduction

Football season is getting interesting as we see the International Championships are on time. After being shifted one year ahead due to the pandemic, EURO Cup is finally round the honor. Each country’s fans and players want some silverware to be brought to their land. 8 groups and 32 teams are getting ready to climb the ladder with obstacles between them. Stakes are high as the teams are all set to conquer the ultimate European Supremacy.

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While we are looking at all the groups in the EURO Competition. Each group has its own specialty with its own set of teams ready to clash against the odds and defy them. In the case of Group C, it is a group of talented players across the world hoping to raise to the stage, the more the talent the better the result. We have young and fierce enough Netherlands, with newcomers North Macedonia and second timers Austria wanting to prove their generations talent after a long time. Also, Ukraine with its ‘Never Give Up’ attitude to tuning the entertainment. Let us see how this group is up for the task to get to the Top 2 of Group C

Netherlands

Ronald Koeman’s departure had ushered young talents such as De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong but since the departure of Koeman to reshape Barca the Oranje are under the management of Ajax head coach Frank De Boer to help reshape the new era of Dutch players that are technically and physically capable of being the best but just need the right guidance and break the hoodoo of the Dutch team being an ”Easy target”, as they haven’t progressed in those crunch duels and have lost a couple of finals since their last EURO victory under Cryuff. It is about time they get different inspiration from somewhere

In the midst of such changing times at the national level, it is crucial for the Dutch with Koemans departure they to forget what is lost and recognize what the have at display for this EURO Competition to not have another tournament of “Misfortune”

Netherlands - Euro

Key Players

Depay

The 26 year old has shown Europe his talents for quite sometime now and has only been waiting for his chance to get a big move at club level. Getting offers and being heavily linked with a club like Barcelona has shown what could be his one big break. His pace, ability to lead a front line and play as a shadow striker is his strongest asset. Having success at this EURO competition will further boost his transfer pull towards big clubs.

 De Ligt

Having moved to Juventus and failed to complete their main objective of winning a UCL for yet another season and not qualifying for UCL, this is another chance to redeem himself on a personal level , following his meteoric rise.  De Ligt is both a physical and technically gifted right-footed center-back, who is known for his clean tackling, anticipation, marking, height, strength, speed and accurate passing, which enables him to start attacking plays from the back. He is simply a complete defender.

Ukraine

AC Milan great Shevchenko took over as the national team coach immediately after that limp campaign, but there were significant doubts about his abilities, the former Chelsea striker was an assistant coach in France five years ago and was promoted to the No 1 position following the tournament. Critics were merciless at times, and following Ukraine’s failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, there were plenty of calls for him to be sacked. But the former striker stayed to prove them all wrong, and now Ukraine is heading to EURO 2020 with their confidence soaring.

The aim is to reach the knockout stages of the European Championship for the first time after group-stage exits in 2012 and 2016. He has a coherent group that plays a bold and attractive style this was highlighted in their qualifying campaign, unbeaten in their eight matches, and leaked just four goals.

Ukraine - Group C

Key Players

Andriy Yarmolenko

Andriy Yarmolenko has been a longstanding talismanic presence in the Ukraine setup and will be heading to his second European Championship. The West Ham man is second on his nation’s all-time scoring list (behind only manager Shevchenko) with a whopping 40 strikes in 94 caps from midfield.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Oleksandr Zinchenko will arguably be his country’s main threat throughout the tournament. We all know the season the Manchester City man has had. Despite Champions League heartbreak, Zinchenko has had a brilliant campaign for the Cityzens and will look to replicate his all-round brilliance on the pitch at the international stage this summer.

North Macedonia

Four wins and two draws from 10 group matches meant they qualified for this summer’s tournament via the back door, a Path D play-off victory over Georgia. Any such complacency among their group counterparts will surely be punished, in the same way, Germany was consigned to their first World Cup qualifying defeat in 20 years only a few months ago. If they carry on with the same amount of courage shown in the qualifications who knows where they could end up in this EURO 2021Competition, after all, they are the only the first group of 11 from their nation that achieved this feat.

Group C

Key Players

  Ezgjan Alioski

He has thrived at full-back as well as a center back in an impressive debut campaign for Leeds in the EPL.  For North Macedonia, he thrives as a Wingback creating as well as scoring few goals mostly which has shown in their recent success in qualifying.

Eljif  Elmas

In this defensive setup, a key playmaker, as well as the combative midfielder, is required in the squad and Elmas provides just that to the aging veteran Goran Pandev and his strike partner.

Austria

Austria has taken on a more defensive approach in recent years, seen in dispatches during the 1-0 friendly loss to England at the Riverside. Foda guided Das Team to a runner-up spot behind Poland in qualifying, one place above fellow Group C opponents in North Macedonia. However, despite experimenting with the formation and having creative players he tends to stick to defensive formations which do backfire most of the time.

Austria - Euro

Key players

David Alaba

The current Real Madrid player who completed his well-awaited dream move had enjoyed success in his spell at Bayern being well known for his leadership and versatility across the pitch. His versatility is the main reason why he is Austria’s captain and why Austria can switch formations from a back 4 to a back 5. A back 4 is preferred just to use Alaba’s creativity.

 Marko Arnautovic.

Well known for his time in Premier League with Stoke and West Ham, he had sadly left for China which he is not well known for as it is an easy escape and he is yet to have a big move since. His biggest strengths are his strength and pace which will be needed against tougher opposition in the tournament. If Austria can be creative enough Arnautovic is the man they need to finish those chances off with as they might be forced back too much being a defensive team.  

Important Matches

Austria vs North Macedonia- June 13

Netherlands vs Ukraine-June 14

Ukraine vs North Macedonia – June 17

Netherlands vs North Macedonia- June 21

Our Predictions

Given what the teams have and their experience in the past, the Netherlands should be able to make it to the top spot. In the second spot though I can see a tough scrape as a possibility between the rest of the 3 as Ukraine does have enough depth to see it through  they might find it tough with their aging squad, contrary to that of Austria and Macedonia’s squads.

Conclusion

The Netherlands are favorites to go through this EURO group with strength and experience that they possess but this group has decent competition from Ukraine and the other two might seem like underdogs but they might be looking to pounce on any slip-ups in the table made by the big 2 as they have been consistent enough to prove their worth if they get their game plans right, so be ready for an exciting tussle.

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