Netherlands complete clean sweep, Austria finish runners-up
Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice and Memphis Depay added to his goal haul in a 3-0 Netherlands win over North Macedonia on Monday to keep their 100% record at Euro 2020 - but not before surviving some early scares at the Johan Cruyff Arena. Austria defeated dismal Ukraine 1-0 on Monday to finish runners-up in Group C.
The Dutch had already secured top place in Group C but emphasised their dominance with a full haul of points as North Macedonia exited the tournament with none.
Depay opened the scoring in the first half and Wijnaldum added two in the space of seven minutes to go ahead of Marco van Basten on the list of his country's scorers.
The captain now has 25 goals for the Netherlands, who head to Budapest for their last-16 match on Sunday against one of the best third-placed finishers from Groups D, E or F.
North Macedonia offered plucky intent at creating an upset and had the ball in the Dutch net early, only for Ivan Trickovski to be ruled off side. Aleksandar Trajkovski then smashed in a powerful shot that had Dutch goalkeeper Marten Stekelenburg beaten but thundered back out off the post.
Instead the home side took the lead in the 24th minute, albeit amid some controversy, as a tackle from Daley Blind on Goran Pandev set up a counter attack, swiftly executed with Donyell Malen and Depay combining before the latter tucked away the ball.
A VAR check, however, found Blind's tackle was legal, much to the disgust of the Macedonians.
Straight after half-time, Matthijs de Ligt had a powerful header cleared off the line by Trickovski as the Dutch served notice of a more determined approach. Wijnaldum then doubled the score six minutes into the half as Depay set him up to finish from close range.
More of their confident passing allowed Wijnaldum another goal in the 58th minute, with Depay once more the provider, and the skipper might have completed a hattrick four minutes thereafter, but he shot wide.
Substitute Wout Weghorst crashed the ball against the bar with his first touch after coming on but North Macedonia managed to pull down the shutters for the last 20 minutes.
The Dutch, who also won in the group against Ukraine and Austria, have now scored at least two goals in their last 10 internationals in a run stretching back to November. Austria finished second in the group by beating Ukraine 1-0 in Bucharest at the same time.
North Macedonia captain Pandev, 37, went off with some 22 minutes left at the end of a 20-year international career and was accorded a guard of honour by substitutes and team officials on the touchline. He had announced his intention to retire ahead of Monday's match but had little impact on his final outing.
Austria advance to last 16 with win over Ukraine
Christoph Baumgartner's first half goal sealed a slice of history for Austria as they defeated dismal Ukraine 1-0 on Monday to finish runners-up in Group C and seal a first ever place in the last 16 of the European Championship.
Austria were able to celebrate their achievement, but the result leaves Ukraine sweating on what looks a slim chance they will be among the four best third-placed teams and also earn their place in the knockout stages.
Baumgartner turned in David Alaba's corner midway through the first half as Austria profited from a lacklustre display from Ukraine, who battled to find fluidity when it seemingly mattered most in the tournament.
The Netherlands, who beat North Macedonia 3-0 in their final game, top the group with a full haul of nine points from their three games, while Austria are second on six points and Ukraine have three, and a negative goal-difference.
Austria may not be celebrating for long though as they face in-form Italy in the last 16 in London on Saturday, coming up against Roberto Mancini's team that are unbeaten in their last 30 internationals and who have not conceded in 11 games.
Ukraine coach Andriy Shevchenko will be bewildered with the limp showing of his side – they did, after all, finish top of their qualifying pool, picking up 20 points from their eight games – three more than holders Portugal. But they showed none of that tenacity against their workmanlike opponents.
Austria made the early running and went ahead on 21 minutes through a simply-worked goal. Alaba's corner delivery reached Baumgartner, who had moved ahead of his marker and prodded the ball into the net.
Ukraine largely wasted what possession they had with misplaced passes but created a rare opening just before the half-hour mark when Mykola Shaparenko's shot was beaten away by Austria goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann and Andriy Yarmolenko narrowly failed to get onto the rebound.
Marko Arnautovic, back in the side after a suspension, spurned an excellent opportunity to double the lead before the break when he found himself unmarked in the box, but could not get a solid connection on an inviting cross from Alessandro Schopf and the ball dribbled wide.
Ukraine were brighter at the start of the second half and showed more ambition to get forward and put Austria under pressure.
But a lack of accuracy with their passing continued to hamper the side and the only time they looked threatening was from occasional set-piece opportunities.
Even in the closing stages, as the minutes ticked away, Ukraine never looked like getting the goal that would have meant they finished above the Austrians.