Oranje finishes Euro group stage with perfect record; Tops N. Macedonia 3-0
The Dutch man's national team easily dispatched of fourth place Group C team North Macedonia by a score of 3-0 in their final group stage match of the Euro 2020. The Dutch side finished the stage with a perfect record, having previously beaten Group C rivals Austria and Ukraine who wound up in second and third in the group.
The Netherlands was technically the away team against North Macedonia, despite the match being held at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam. The audience was limited due to coronavirus restrictions in the Netherlands. A total of 15,227 attended the match, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and his counterpart from North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev.
Manager Frank de Boer started the match with two changes to his previous lineup, using Donyell Malen and Ryan Gravenberch. It would prove to be a good decision in the 24th minute, when Oranje made it 1-0.
It started with a slide tackle by Dutch defender Daley Blind who used a slide tackle from behind to tap the ball away from captain Goran Pandev. The ball was collected by Gravenberch who sent it to forward Malen. He brought the ball out of the Dutch defensive side up through midfield before passing up to Memphis Depay. He gave it back to Malen on the right side of the box, who quickly returned the ball to Depay, who struck the ball hard on the ground past goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski.
A review by the VAR determined that Blind's tackle was not a foul, and that the offensive play was not offsides.
GOAL!!👏— NOS Sport (@NOSsport) June 21, 2021
Op aangeven van Malen schiet Memphis de 0-1 binnen - z'n 28ste voor Oranje!⚽ pic.twitter.com/CJkwtMShQB
At the end of 45 minutes, the score remained the same, despite several opportunities for the Netherlands to double their lead. Oranje kept possession for 53 percent of the first half, with six attempts in total including two shots on target. They committed five fouls. North Macedonia used their time on the ball to produce five attempts, but none on target. They too committed five fouls.
Six minutes after the restart, Dutch substitute Steven Berghuis found the ball at his feet in midfield. He sent a long leading pass into the left side of the box to Depay, who passed to a rushing Georginio Wijnaldum. The Dutch captain beat a diving Dimitrievski to the ball in the goal area, and struck the ball into the back of the net.
Wijnaldum made it 3-0 in the 58th minute. Dimitrievski deflected a shot from Depay right back to the penalty spot, and Wijnaldum struck the ball into the top of the goal.
Dimitrievski did what he could to prevent the match from getting completely out of hand, making four saves in total. By the end of the match, the Netherlands generated 17 offensive attempts with seven shots on target, and held the ball 57 percent of the time. North Macedonia had 12 attempts, with one on target.
The Netherlands will play a third place team from either Group D, E or F at 6 p.m. in Budapest on June 27. Austria defeated Ukraine 1-0 to take second in the group, and will play Italy in London on June 26. Ukraine will only move into the Round of 16 depending on the performance of the other third place teams.
The match was the last for North Macedonia captain Goran Pandev. The 37-year-old announced his retirement from international football on Sunday.