In group C Holland have already guaranteed top spot, with them having beaten both Ukraine and Austria, so should they finish level on points, Holland will finish above them courtesy of a better head to head record. North Macedonia have impressed with their fearless style of play at this years tournament, but they are on their way home after this game. Ukraine and Austria meet in a winner takes all clash, though in truth if one of them loses they are extremely likely to be one of the best 3rd place finishers and make the knock out rounds that way.
Holland – Have topped the group whatever happens.
North Macedonia – Are eliminated whatever happens.
Austria – Finish 2nd in group if they beat Ukraine. Finish 3rd if they lose or draw to Ukraine.
Ukraine – Finish 2nd in group if they win or draw against Austria. Finish 3rd if they lose to Austria.
Ukraine and Austria are both currently priced up at 1/25 (Bet365) to qualify for the knock out rounds.
Holland will meet one of the best 3rd place finishers in their first knock out game. With whoever finishes 2nd in this group playing the winner of group A, which will be Italy or Wales. Should the team in 3rd spot in this group qualify for the knock out rounds, they will meet the winner or group E or Group F, who at this time could be any of France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Spain or Slovakia.
So lets take a look at the final two group fixtures and see what we have in store.
North Macedonia vs Holland
In their 2 games played at this tournament, North Macedonia have scored 2 goals, conceded 5 goals, had 20 shots with 7 being on target, they have an average possession of 42%, have been given 4 yellow cards, no red cards and taken 5 corners.
Holland have scored 5 goals, conceded 2, had 29 shots with 11 on target, they have an average possession of 54%, have been given 1 yellow card, no red cards and taken 7 corners.
The referee for this game is Istvan Kovacs (Romania), this season he has taken charge of 10 games, giving out 38 yellow cards and 2 red cards, for an average of 3.80 yellow cards per game and 0.20 red cards per game. In his career to date he has refereed 30 games, giving a total of 120 yellow cards and 6 red cards, an average of 4 yellow cards per game and 0.20 red cards per game.
Despite already being eliminated, North Macedonia know that a win at a major tournament against a side like Holland would make them heroes in their homeland. Holland are sure to make some changes as they rest players before they enter the knock out stages, but these players coming in will be desperate to prove a point and get a spot in the squad for the knock out games. We should have an entertaining game with North Macedonia having nothing to lose, and already having proven in this tournament that they are a good side to watch and produce exciting games. It will be interesting if North Macedonia play a similar team to what they have in their opening 2 games, which is obviously their best team, or if they rotate to give all players a chance of experiencing playing at a major tournament. Whatever happens i see this being a game that produces goals and expect North Macedonia to get themselves on the score sheet, but ultimately i expect the class and depth of this Holland team to be too much for North Macedonia, who are full of players who have never played games at the intensity that they have in this tournament, much less played 3 of them in a shot space of time. I see Holland finishing with a 100% record as they pull away late on from a tired North Macedonian side for a 3-1 victory.
Ukraine vs Austria
The funny thing about this game is that the loser could actually end up with an easier last 16 game than the winner. The winner of this game looks set to play Italy, assuming the Azzuri avoid defeat at home to Wales. The loser will enter into somewhat of a gamble, as they could end up playing Sweden or Slovakia, which would be a much easier game than Italy, though they could end up taking on France, Germany, Portugal or Spain, which is just as bad if not much worse than the prospect of playing Italy. The truth is both these sides look set to play a part in the last 16, but they will both want to go their on the back of a win having beaten the other.
In their 2 games at this tournament, Ukraine have scored 4 goals, conceded 4 goals, had 24 shots with 13 of them being on target, they have an average possession of 45.50%, have been given 2 yellow cards, no red cards and have taken 6 corners.
Austria have scored 3 goals, conceded 3 goals, had 19 shots with 7 on target, they have an average possession of 58.50%, have been given 3 yellow cards, no red cards and taken 9 corners.
The referee for this game is Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey), this season he has taken charge of 32 games, giving out 109 yellow cards and 6 red cards, for an average of 3.41 yellow cards per game and 0.19 red cards per game. In his career to date he has refereed 232 games, giving a total of 923 yellow cards and 53 red cards, an average of 3.98 yellow cards per game and 0.23 red cards per game.
At the time of writing Wales and Italy are yet to play to decide who tops their group. What would make this game especially interesting is if Wales can find a way to beat Italy, as then the winner of this game would be playing Wales, with the loser potentially taking on France, Germany, Portugal or Spain, which would place a massive reward on winning this game. Even if that situation doesn’t play out, I feel both teams will want to finish 2nd and get a win here for confidence as much as anything else. This is a real 50/50 game for me, and that is reflected in bookmaker odds with none having much difference between the two sides. Ukraine have the added bonus of knowing that a draw is enough for them to finish 2nd, courtesy of goals scored as the two sides would find themselves level on head to head record and goal difference. I would edge slightly towards Austria in this game as they have been the more impressive side to me and with controversial striker Marko Arnautovic returning from his 1 game ban with fresh legs, i feel he could prove the difference as Austria win 2-1 to secure 2nd place in the group.