Welcome to NMA’s group C preview article for the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament! Austria will square off against North Macedonia as the first fixture in this group on Sunday June 13. Netherlands v Ukraine follows the same day.
This group comprises Euro debutants North Macedonia, a young, vibrant and disciplined Ukraine side, an unpredictable Austrian side, and 1988 Euro winner Netherland. This group promises a lot of entertainment and maybe surprises.
Which team will top Group C?
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Netherlands: FIFA Ranking 16
Co-host Netherlands comes into this tournament as the only country in group C to have previously won the Euros. Netherlands has gone through a bad patch in international football in recent years, failing to even qualify for Russia’s World Cup 2018 or Euro 2016.
Consequently, the squad has undergone rebuilding, which has given young players the opportunity to come in and stake their claims. The result of this rebuilding is the recent run (including 2nd-place in the UEFA Nations League) that has seen the team display the kind of swagger and verve expected of Dutch football.
Ronald Koeman’s decision to quit the team after the UEFA Nations League spun the team into another bad patch, but Frank De Boer has put the team back on track.
The Dutch will be without Captain and back line leader Van Dijk due to his 2020 ACL injury. Without Liverpool’s Van Dijk, the Oranje will rely on Juventus’ young Mathias De Ligt to marshal the defense while Gini Wijnaldum leads midfield. Lyon’s Talisman Memphis Depay, who bears most of the attacking burden, will create chances and score goals. The arrival of Ronald Koeman saw Depay take on greater responsibility in the team, and he has constantly proved his worth to the team.
Depay and Gini Wijnaldum are no-brainers to pick for your FPL team. Wijnaldum ended the qualifiers as the team’s top scorer with eight goals. If he is able to replicate that kind of form at the Euros, not having him in your team might lead to sleepless nights.
Verdict – Runners-up
Ukraine: FIFA Ranking 24
Ukraine impressed in its qualifying campaign by going undefeated. Andriy Shevchenko’s side has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. It has learned the importance playing as one unit, which has developed a very formidable side.
Ukraine has never advanced past the group stage at the Euros, but it would be unwise to bet against this young team. Ghent striker Roman Yaremchuk ended the qualifying phase as top scorer with four goals, and he is expected to lead the line at the Euros. Yaremchuk also had a good season for his club side, scoring 23 goals in 43 appearances. He looks like a good differential to have in fantasy teams.
Talisman Andriy Yarmolenko will also be relied upon for creativity and goals. The left-footed West Ham midfielder hasn’t enjoyed much game time at club level this season, but he remains an integral part of the national team.
Ukraine captain and goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov also looks like a good differential in fantasy as Ukraine is known for tightness at the back. Ukraine conceded just four goals in eight qualifying matches that included two fixtures against heavyweights Portugal. Playmaker Malinovski and Shaktar Donestsk Midfielder Marlos should also be considered for your Fantasy teams.
Verdict - Group winners
Austria: FIFA Ranking 23
Austria comes into Euro 2020 without even one win in any match in a major tournament for over 30 years. Austria’s last match victory at a major competition was in a 1990 World Cup group stage fixture against the United States. Austria also comes into this tournament in patchy form following just one win in its last five fixtures.
Franco Foda’s side is motivated to go at least one step better than in its last two Euros that ended in group stage elimination. Austria will rely on qualifier top-scorer Marco Arnautovic for goals while also hoping that Real Madrid signing David Alaba can help provide leadership from Midfield.
Backing Arnautovic in your fantasy teams might be a smart choice as he is a very unpredictable striker who can never be ruled out.
Verdict: Group stage exit
North Macedonia: FIFA Ranking: 62
Euro debutantes North Macedonia will be rightly delighted just to be participating in their first ever major tournament. Igor Angelovski’s side comes into the tournament as group C’s underdog among minnows — krill among anchovies who will later be eaten by sharks.
Veteran striker and captain Goran Pandev dreams of springing a shock result against a more established country in the group, but zero-and-out is the expected result.
The minnows will depend on captain Pandev to lead the team from the front with his creativity, vision and eye for goal. Pandev is the country’s all-time top scorer and appearance maker with 30 goals and 109 appearances. The debutantes will also look to Elif Elmas for inspiration. At just 21, Napoli midfielder Elmas is blessed with vision beyond his years, and he is also isn’t one to shy away from a tackle. Elmas’ eye for goal cannot be overlooked as he ended the qualifying campaign as North Macedonia’s top scorer with four goals.
Having Elmas or Pandev in your Euro Fantasy team as a differential might end up being a brilliant piece of business.
Verdict: Scoreless group stage exit
Check out our detailed previews of other groups at the Euros:
What do you think of group C? Which players are you backing to do well? Which team will finish where? Do you think any of the teams in this group stand a chance of winning the competition? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments!