UEFA EURO 2020 PREVIEW: NORTH MACEDONIA VS NETHERLANDS, THE DUTCH AIM FOR A 100% RECORD IN GROUP STAGES AGAINST VALIANT DEBUTANTS

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has well and truly begun and every match proving to be a blockbuster. The excitement levels are peaking as the final round of the group stages approaches.

In one such fixture, North Macedonia will face the Netherlands as their debut manifestation at the Euro finals looks short-lived. As Amsterdam Arena prepares itself for another draining fixture between two of the most exciting sides of Europe. Oranje is getting used to winning as the tournament progresses while their opponents are desperate for a win to stand a chance and finish as one of the best third-placed teams.

North Macedonia has struggled to register a point despite their courageous display against both Austria and Ukraine. They dug out a goal in each of their games but succumbed to their weaknesses and conceded five on the other side. Despite losing the first two games, the Balkan country can hope for a berth in the next round if they manage to upset the current group leaders. The team led by Igor Angelovski recently defeated European heavyweight Germany in the World Cup qualifiers.

 

 

The underdogs have already created history by reaching their first major international finals since independence in 1991.

The Dutch side too has recently overcome a difficult phase and had an upturn in form since their shocking absence at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup. Frank de Boer’s side has already qualified for the Round of 16 winning both of their earlier group games, with a scoreline of 3-2 and 2-0 against Ukraine and Austria respectively.

 

 

They have shown glimpses of the deep-seated footballing tradition of the country and dominated both games for larger periods.

 

TEAM NEWS

The Macedonian side is deemed to be fully fit and will go all guns blazing in what is a do-or-die fixture for them. Igor Angelovski uses three centre-backs and allows the wingbacks to support the three-man midfield and help them to find the two strikers in dangerous spaces.

 

 

They have posed constant threats to the opponent goals and have registered 20 shots in the tournament so far despite having lesser possession.

North Macedonia Probable Lineup:

Dimitrievski;

Alioski, Musliu, Velkovski, Ristovski, Nikolov;

Bardhi, Spirovski, Ademi;

Elmas, Pandev

 

Frank De Boer already suffered a major blow when captain and star defender Virgil Van Dijk opted out of the tournament as he’s recovering from a knee injury that saw him sit out all season.

Matthijs De Ligt has came back from his injury which saw him sit out in the first game and dropped a brilliant performance against Austria.

 

 

Just like his counterpart, De Boer prefers to play attacking wingbacks allowing their forwards to play in a free-flowing manner and unlock defences by constantly moving the ball.

Netherlands Probable Lineup:

Stekelenburg;

De Vrij, De Ligt, Blind;

Dumfries, De Roon, De Jong, Van Aanholt, ;

Weghorst, Depay

 

GAME CHANGERS

Leeds’ Egzan Alioski has shown great attacking intent in both the games, as in the domestic season and will be a key attacking option from the wide areas.

 

 

He scored the crucial goal against Ukraine that breathed life into the team as they fought till the end, although in vain. Alioski plays as the left-sided wingback who constantly charges up the field and drops back to defend for the whole game.

The 29-year old poses a great threat when pushing ahead by repeatedly putting the ball in the box. His battle with the Dutch right-back Denzel Dumfries, who scored a goal in both matches for the Netherlands will be great to watch as both players are capable of an exuberant display.

 

 

The Dutch captain Gini Wijnaldum has one of the best performers in the team in the last two games, scoring an important opening goal against Ukraine. As an attacking midfielder, the 30-year old former Liverpool player is all over the opposition half, constantly running at defenders and creating chances for the two strikers.

 

 

He will yet again be an important player for the Oranje and with his superb shooting and passing ability.

 

PREDICTION

North Macedonia will have a tough time out in Amsterdam, facing the Netherlands in blazing form.  Their hopes of clinging on lie on this match and they must give their all in order to put the Netherlands under pressure. The Dutch won’t let the visitors have it easy and would want to continue their winning run going into the knockout phases.

FootTheBall predicts a 2-1 win for the Netherlands.

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