7th Jun 2021 | International
Euro 2020 Tips: Group C Winner - Ukraine
Netherlands are expected to walk it, but Van Dijk is sorely missed while the coach may flatter to deceive. Ukraine bested Portugal in qualifying and held France in March during World Cup qualifying.
Perhaps the weakest section in the Championships, Group C contains Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia. The bookies inevitably expect the Dutch to finish first (4/11), but they have some question marks hanging over them. Ukraine could take advantage and top the group at 5/1 with WilliamHill.
Things looked brighter for Holland about 18 months ago. The loss of Virgil van Dijk is well-documented, but the enforced replacement of Ronald Koeman with Frank de Boer is also cause for concern. It’s not just his questionable management record in recent years, over even the press conferences gaffes. (He recently suggested he might start a player in the Euros who he had already left out of the squad.).
More importantly, Oranje’s results have been somewhat inconsistent of late. They were lucky to rescue a 2-2 draw with Scotland, and lost 4-2 to Turkey in March - and that one was a World Cup qualifier.
In comparison, Ukrainian icon Andriy Shevchenko’s status remains undimmed after a fine, unbeaten qualifying campaign which saw them finish ahead of defending champions Portugal, and Serbia. They conceded just 4 goals across the eight matches - a defence like that always gives them a chance.
They have nothing to fear in Austria or North Macedonia so the group winner could be decided early, when they face Netherlands first up. That won’t be easy in Amsterdam but it will be interesting to see how the Dutch handle the pressure after seven years away from tournament football.
Odds correct at time of publishing: 05:53 7th Jun, 2021 but subject to change