The Oranje defeated North Macedonia with a 3-0 result in their final Group C game.
in Group C’s final matchday on Monday. The Oranje’s top spot in the group was already secured before the match. However, Frank de Boer made only two changes in the Netherlands’ squad.Donyell Malen
started the game ahead of Wout Weghorst upfront, whileMarten De Roon
was replaced by Ryan Gravenberch in midfield.
Despite being already eliminated from the competition, North Macedonia had a good reason to fight in this match. The team’s legendary forwardGoran Pandev
had confirmed that he will retire from international football after their match against the Netherlands.
North Macedonia gained possession early on and scored in the 10th minute. However, Ivan Trichkovski’s strike was disallowed after being reviewed by VAR. Trichkovski had the chance to score once again 12 minutes later, but his long-range strike hit the far post after being deflected by Maarten Stekelenburg.
Having escaped North Macedonia’s initial pressure, the Netherlands were ready to punish Macedonia for their careless attacks. Following a textbook counter-attack by the Netherlands’ forward pair in the 24th minute, Malen provided an inch-perfect pass from the right side of the goal which was slotted into the far corner of the net byMemphis Depay
. De Boer’s side continued their attacks for the rest of the period, but they struggled to create serious chances.
However, The Oranje didn’t have to wait for too long to double their lead in the second half. Depay got past Macedonia’s backline once again in the 52nd minute and crossed a ball into the six-yard box that was tapped into the empty net byGeorginio Wijnaldum
. The 30-year-old completed his brace 7 minutes later when he found himself in the perfect spot to convert the follow-up of Depay’s deflected ball. The Netherlands kept up with their attacks until the final whistle, but they were not able to extend their lead.
The Oranje qualified for the round of 16 as Group C leaders, while North Macedonia ended their Euro 2020 campaign without a point. In the other match of the group, Austria defeated Ukraine 1-0 and qualified as the second team. Ukraine will hope to find their place among the best four third-placed teams to qualify for the next round.