Georginio Wijnaldum
Georginio Wijnaldum

Amsterdam: A Memphis Depay strike and two Georginio Wijnaldum finishes made the difference as the Netherlands romped home 3-0 against North Macedonia in the Euro 2020 Group C encounter at the Johan Cruijff Arena, here on Monday.

In the match played at the National Arena in Bucharest, Christoph Baumgartner’s strike guaranteed Austria second place in Group C to reach the knockout stage for the first time, whilst Ukraine’s hopes hinge on being one of the best third-placed teams.

Saint Petersburg Stadium in St Petersburg, Group B Belgium got the better of Finland 2-0, to top the pool, in the other match in the same group, Denmark beat Russia 4-1 at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen. Hradecky and Lukaku were the scorers for the winners.

Damsgaard, Poulsen, Christensen and Mæhle scored for Denmark while Dzyuba the lone gola for Russia from the dreaded spot. Russia are out of the knock out with this defeat.

Already heading home, North Macedonia were determined to put on a show for what was Pandev's 122nd (and probably last) international game, Aleksandar Trajkovski smacking a firm shot from the edge of the box against the post on 22 minutes.

However, if they were occasionally fragile in defence, the Dutch sparkled going forward. A constant menace, Donyell Malen sent Depay flying forward on the break in the 24th minute before receiving a return ball and teeing up the on-rushing No10 to complete one of the moves of the tournament with his 28th international goal.

The Netherlands turned on the style again early in the second half, Depay's smart ball in from the left giving Wijnaldum the simple task of scoring his 24th Netherlands goal from close range. His 25th was even easier, the captain tidying away a loose ball after Stole Dimitrievski could only parry Depay's shot into his path.

The Oranje could have scored more; Wout Weghorst hit the bar seconds after coming on for Depay, but their round of 16 opponents will be well aware that Frank de Boer's side have plenty more goals in them.

Xaver Schlager’s motoring right-sided run kicked off a lively head-to-head. Committing numbers forward, Austria’s intent was clear as a Marcel Sabitzer volley sailed over, before Aleksandar Dragović’s header fell wide.

Breaking the deadlock on 21 minutes, Christoph Baumgartner beat his marker to latch onto David Alaba’s searching corner kick and prod home with an outstretched leg – at 21, the youngest goalscorer at the tournament so far.

Unshaken, Ukraine were quick to respond, slipping through Das National team’s deep block as Ruslan Malinovskyi picked out Mykola Shaparenko, however, Daniel Bachmann was on call to parry.

As the half-time whistle loomed, Marko Arnautović was presented with a golden opportunity to double the deficit, but the Austrian striker could only jab wide from Alessandro Schöpf’s measured pass.

In a subdued second-half, Roman Yaremchuk rifled across goal late on in a final Ukraine push, but Austria had done enough to clinch victory in Bucharest and secure their passage to the round of 16.

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