WHAT EACH TEAM FROM ‘GROUP C’ NEEDS TO QUALIFY FOR THE KNOCKOUT PHASE

has been an unpredictable tournament so far with Turkey and being the only teams to be knocked out yet. Only four teams have confirmed their place in the Round of 16, with one of them being from the evenly poised Group C.

Group C still has two riveting fixtures remaining with the other qualification spot(s) still at stake. The will face an inspired North Macedonia while will take on the led Osterreich as the second and third spots are still in contention.

The Netherlands has confirmed their place at the top, with Ukraine, and North Macedonia following them. Both Ukraine and will give their best to secure the second spot, but the team finishing third will also have a considerable chance of going through on the basis of the third-placed qualification rule.

According to the third-placed qualification rule first introduced at Euro 2016, four best teams that finished third in the six groups will get a ticket to the Round of 16, along with the top two teams from each group. While this rule has faced a lot of criticism for reducing the quality of football, it has made the group stages much more fierce and difficult for even the higher-ranked teams.

As the final round of group stage matches approach us, we, at FootTheBall, will analyse what each team in Group C needs to qualify for the Round of 16.

THE NETHERLANDS (6 POINTS)

The table-toppers have already secured the top position and a place in the next round, winning both of their group games with ease. Oranje controlled the possession in their game against Ukraine, and while the underdogs came back from 2-0 down to equalise, a Denzel Dumfries header six minutes later sealed the three points in the Netherlands’ favour. Austria gave them a close fight in terms of chances created, but the 2-0 scoreline told a completely different story.

They have confirmed the top spot of the Group C table and will face one of the third-placed teams, meaning possibly an easier draw for the in-form side. However, the third-placed side can also be one of Germany, Portugal and France from Group F.

The result of their final group stage game against North Macedonia will be irrelevant to their position in the table. The Netherlands has had an upturn in form and now are one of the favourites in the competition.

UKRAINE (3 POINTS)

Ukraine fought valiantly in both their games and are in contention for a confirmed spot in the Round of 16 by finishing second in the group. After a brave 3-2 loss to the Netherlands, Ukraine won their game against the lowest-ranked team in the competition, North Macedonia.

The Andriy Shevchenko coached team is currently second in the table and will face third-placed Austria in the final group game. A draw will be sufficient for them as they will still remain above Austria on the number of goals scored.

A win will pump up their confidence for the knockout rounds, where they will face Italy, the Group A winners and one of the favourites to go all the way. However, a win won’t affect the group standings as the Netherlands will still remain top irrespective of the result of their game.

A loss to Austria will push them down to the third spot, leaving their fate in the hands of luck.

AUSTRIA (3 POINTS)

The Osterreich were one of the predicted dark horses of the tournament, considering their talent often goes unnoticed and unrewarded. They defeated North Macedonia in their opening game, with two second-half goals securing a 3-1 win. Another good performance went in vain for the Austrians, when the Netherlands scored two past them without an answer.

Austria will face Ukraine in their last group game and will try to dethrone them off the second spot and confirm a place in the Round of 16. Franco Foda’s team will go full throttle against Ukraine in what is a must-win game for them.

A win will take their point tally to six, and luck won’t be needed to qualify anymore, at least until the Round of 16 tie. However, if Ukraine holds them on to a draw, they will only finish third and wait for the other groups to finish accordingly.

Even if they lose the tie, Austria will still finish third, but their chances of going through will be much less with a negative goal difference.

NORTH MACEDONIA (0 POINTS)

The minnows from the Balkan Peninsula made their major international finals debut at Euro 2020 and have already made history. But the dream lived a short life and they will head back home after their game against the Netherlands, irrespective of the result.

North Macedonia was brave in its approach, and didn’t shy from attacking Austria and Ukraine, and even scored a goal in both games, but couldn’t protect their own goal from getting breached and lost both the games. Despite having zero points, Igor Angelovski’s side impressed the spectators and earned new fans abroad.

A win against the group leaders will result in a great surge of confidence for the Macedonians, but will not affect their fourth position in the group. They can spoil the Netherlands’ 100% record and become the party spoilers before heading home.

You don't have permission to register