livescore logo

North Macedonia vs Netherlands preview: Minnows bid to exit on a high
Copy icon

James Nalton
LiveScore
The Netherlands celebrate after scoring against Austria on matchday two
The Netherlands celebrate after scoring against Austria on matchday two

Group C: North Macedonia vs Netherlands, kick-off 5pm (UK time, ITV)

There’s little to play for as North Macedonia face Group C leaders the Netherlands in a game between top and bottom.

It’s been a tournament of contrasting fortunes for these two nations. The Oranje top the group unbeaten, while North Macedonia are yet to collect a point.

As a result, the latter have already been eliminated while the former have secured a place in the last 16.

What’s more, the Netherlands are already confirmed as group winners — the only team in the tournament to be in that position after two games.

The story so far

The Dutch began their campaign with a game that has gone down as one of the group stage highlights.

They came out on top in a five-goal thriller against Ukraine, winning 3-2 thanks to goals from Georginio Wijnaldum, Wout Weghorst and Denzel Dumfries.

Right wing-back Dumfries scored again in a 2-0 win against Austria after Memphis Depay opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

North Macedonia are taking part in their first European Championships and are yet to register a point despite bursts of impressive play.

They lost 2-1 to Ukraine and 3-1 to Austria, and will now face their biggest test yet – but with the pressure off.

Down to Dimitrievski

North Macedonia keeper Stole Dimitrievski was second for saves after matchday two
North Macedonia keeper Stole Dimitrievski was second for saves after matchday two

Only Turkey’s Ugurcan Cakir (16) made more saves in this tournament than North Macedonia’s Stole Dimitrievski (14) ahead of matchday three.

He’ll need to be on top form if his side are to get anything from their final game in the tournament.

North Macedonia will have to soak up a lot of pressure as they try to keep out the superior Dutch.

Though those in front of him will do their best to prevent the Netherlands’ stars from creating any clear-cut chances, Dimitrievski, who plays his club football in Spain with Rayo Vallecano, will be busy once again.

More work for Wijnaldum?

With the Netherlands having done their job and already topped the group, Frank de Boer could rotate his team for this final game.

Wijnaldum’s role as captain and his high levels of endurance mean he could be one of the few players to keep his place.

The midfielder played almost 4,000 minutes for Liverpool last season, so while he may be due a rest, it shows just how reliable he is in terms of availability.

He’s able to play a number of positions throughout the midfield, too, which means there is always a place for him in the side, even if new faces are brought into the advanced midfield position he plays for De Boer's side.

The De Boer debate

The Netherlands' 3-5-2 shape is clear in their average positions map for Euro 2020
The Netherlands' 3-5-2 shape is clear in their average positions map for Euro 2020

De Boer’s managerial career in club football hasn’t gone as he would have hoped since leaving Ajax in 2016 having won four league titles in six years.

Failed spells at Inter Milan, Crystal Palace and Major League Soccer side Atlanta United followed before he was given the chance to find his feet again in international football.

When Ronald Koeman left the national team post for Barcelona, the Dutch FA turned to De Boer in a continuation of what appears to be a policy of appointing Oranje legends as national team coach.

He’s won seven of his 13 games since taking over in September 2020 and though things haven’t always gone smoothly in his new job – failing to win any of his first four games and in doing so becoming the first Dutch coach to suffer that fate – any blips will be forgotten if the Netherlands have a good Euros.

On the evidence of their first two group games, there is a lot to like about this Dutch side. 

But they will need to learn to control games better quickly if they are to make a real impact on the knockout stages.

Walking in Memphis

Memphis Depay tends to take up a position on the left-hand side of the Dutch attack
Memphis Depay tends to take up a position on the left-hand side of the Dutch attack

Barcelona’s Dutch links will continue with their signing of forward Depay on a free transfer after he left Lyon.

All eyes will now be on the 27-year-old, who Barca coach Koeman twice tried to sign before finally landing his man this summer.

The move comes with extra pressure, as playing for a club such as Barcelona will attract attention from Catalan fans and media – even when playing for his national team.

But while Manchester United fans will remember Depay as a flop, he has matured in France and become a key man for his country.

A record of 27 goals in 66 Dutch caps makes him the highest scorer in the current squad, while he netted 76 times in 176 appearances for OL over five seasons.

After his penalty against Austria opened his Euro 2020 account, Depay will want the chance to fill his boots tonight as he looks to take the rest of the tournament by storm.

Tags

NetherlandsNorth MacedoniaEuropean Championship
LiveScore logo

LiveScore: Live Sport Updates

Footbal Scores & Sports News

Get instant notifications with the LiveScore app
app-storegoogle-play