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Euro 2021 Group C Preview: Netherlands heavily favored to win group, Austria and Ukraine battle for second

The Netherlands are heavily favored in the Group C to advance. Who could join them in the knockout stages of Euro 2021?

Gibraltar v Netherlands - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier Photo by Pablo Morano/Orange Pictures

Group C is full of possibility. While the Netherlands are easily the heavy favorites, second place could be up for grabs between Ukraine and Austria. North Macedonia don’t stand much of a chance, but let’s look in some detail at each team and how they might fare in this year’s competition.


Despite their struggles under relatively newly-appointed Frank de Boer, the Netherlands are still the outright favorites to win Group C. Virgil van Dijk’s absence will continue to be a huge blow to Oranje, as the stalwart center-back has been out of commission since last October when he had to have ACL surgery after a nasty tackle in a Premier League game against Everton. He’s been ruled out for Euro 2020 but is expected to be back for Liverpool next season. Regardless, the Netherlands only lost one game in their Nations League group stage, which came as a 1-0 loss to Italy back in September. Since then, they’ve only lost one across all competitions which was a rare 4-2 loss to Turkey in World Cup Qualifiers. Holland have won the Euros just once out of nine appearances, stretching all the way back to 1988 when they defeated Soviet Union 2-0 in the final match.

Key players: Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg)


Ranked number 24 in the FIFA world rankings, Ukraine have a real shot at taking second place and escaping the group stage automatically. They haven’t lost a match since their Nations League competition when Germany defeated them for the second time in the group stage, with a score of 3-1. Their very next game, Ukraine was forced to forfeit to Switzerland due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their team. Since then, they’ve drawn all four of their subsequent games with 1-1 draws, three of those games coming in World Cup Qualifying. This is just their third appearance in the Euros and they have yet to advance beyond the group stage.

Key players: Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Mykola Matvienko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Ruslan Malinovskyi (Atalanta), Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City)


Sitting just ahead of Ukraine in the world rankings at number 23, Austria are co-favorites with Ukraine to finish in second place in what will be only their third-ever appearance in the Euros. Their previous two appearances in 2008 and 2016 saw them exit in the group stage, so they’ll be looking to finish at least second and advance automatically to the knockout rounds. Austria’s most recent contest came in the form of a 4-0 loss to Denmark on match day three of the World Cup Qualifiers, which puts them at 1-1-1 after a 2-2 draw with Scotland and a 3-1 win over Faroe Islands. They’ll play a pair of friendlies against England and Slovakia before they begin their Euro group stage campaign.

Key players: Marko Arnautovic (Shanghai Port), David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Daniel Bachmann (Watford), Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig)

North Macedonia

North Macedonia — not expected to make much of a splash at all in Group C — will make their first-ever Euros appearance as they’re riding high off a huge 2-1 win over world giants Germany in their most recent World Cup Qualifying game. They shocked the Germans when Goran Pandev opened the scoring in first half stoppage time, only to see İlkay Gündoğan equalize in the 63rd minute with penalty. However, North Macedonia defied all odds and pulled one back in the 85th minute when Eljif Elmas put the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen to put the game to bed. They also took down Liechtenstein on WCQ match day two with a resounding 5-0 win. Even if they do happen to grab a win in the group stage, their fate will likely be decided easily by goal differential.

Key players: Stole Dimitrievski (Rayo Vallecano), Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United), Eljif Elmas (Napoli), Goran Pandev (Genoa), Stefan Ristovski (Dinamo Zagreb)

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Euro 2021 Group C Odds

Team To win To win (Jun 15) To win (Jun 19) Top 2 Top 2 (June 15) Top 2 (Jun 19)
Team To win To win (Jun 15) To win (Jun 19) Top 2 Top 2 (June 15) Top 2 (Jun 19)
Netherlands -245 -400 TBD -2500 -5000 TBD
Austria +525 +360 TBD -106 -240 TBD
Ukraine +525 +3000 TBD +100 +130 TBD
North Macedonia +4500 +20000 TBD +650 +3500 TBD

Group C Schedule

  • Sunday June 13, 12:00 p.m Austria vs. North Macedonia (National Arena, Bucharest)
  • Sunday June 13, 3:00 p.m. Netherlands vs. Ukraine (Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam)
  • Thursday June 17, 9:00 a.m. Ukraine vs. North Macedonia (National Arena, Bucharest)
  • Thursday June 17, 3:00 p.m. Netherlands vs. Austria (Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam)
  • Monday June 21, 12:00 North Macedonia vs. Netherlands (Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam)
  • Monday June 21, 12:00 Ukraine vs. Austria (National Arena, Bucharest)

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