Euro 2020: Netherlands, Belgium eye round of 16 spots


Amsterdam: The Netherlands will look to book their Euro 2020 round of 16 spot when they take on Austria in a Group C encounter at the Johan Cryuff Arena on Thursday. The Dutch side edged past Ukraine 3-2 in their opening game. On the other hand, Belgium too will fancy their chances against Denmark.

The Dutch were in complete control for the majority of their last game before Ukraine gave a scare in the second half. However, a late winner from Denzel Dumfries sealed the three points for the Oranje brigade. Against Austria, Netherlands have a brilliant record winning all of their last six meets.

On Thursday, the Dutch side will be licking their lips once again and go for the kill. In fact, the Netherlands have scored an impressive 21 goals against Austria in the last sux encounters. Frank de Boer influenced his side to play their natural free-flowing game with Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong being the centre of the things. Georginio Wijnaldum’s energy proved to be the key part when the side wanted to get the ball back.

On the other hand, Austria registered their first-ever win at a Euro 2020 with a 3-1 victory over North Macedonia. Despite trailing by a goal in the first half, the Austrians answered in the second half with strikes from Stefan Lainer, Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Aranautovic.

As for Austrians, they will look be robust in their approach. In skipper David Alaba, they have the man who can deliver it into the box for fun from the wings. However, the only creative force from the middle is Marcel Sabitzer who will have his work cut against the Dutch.

Parken Stadium in Copenhagen will again be full of colours as hosts Denmark take on the tough challenge of Belgium in Group B. Denmark had an unforgettable Euro 2020 opener against Finland after Christien Eriksen collapsed on the ground.

Belgium, on the other hand, started their Euro 2020 campaign clinically as goals from Romelu Lukaku and Thomas Munier helped them thrash Russia 3-0. Lukaku has been the spine for Belgium and will look to add more to his tally in this fixture. Eden Hazard might start for Roberto Martinez’s side while Denmark will hope that the home support might inspire them to pull off a surprise.

North Macedonia and Ukraine will lock horns at National Arena in Bucharest in the other Group C encounter with both teams aiming for their maiden Euro 2020 win. Goran Pandev who found the net for Macedonia in the last match will look to finish off chances again.

Ukraine though gave ample fight against the Netherlands but will need to be more clinical in front of goal this time. Coach Shevchenko has assembled an impressive squad this year and will be intent on qualifying for the knock-outs as well.