Our Euro tipping has taken a turn for the worst with Friday night’s matches bearing little fruit for the experts and only Texi Smith riding the German train that derailed Portugal’s excellent start to the tournament.
Tonight, the Netherlands will look to complete a perfect three from three in the group stage against North Macedonia, while Ukraine and Austria appear likely to fight out second place in the group. Group B’s final placings will also be decided when Russia search for three points against Denmark and Belgium could secure the Russians in second place with a win over Finland in Saint Petersburg.
Good luck with your tips on a compelling night of Euro action and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say in the voice of the crowd.
Draw, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium
Both Ukraine and Austria will head into their clash in Bucharest determined to collect all three points to guarantee progression to the knock-out stage. The Ukrainians always looked to have North Macedonia’s measure last time out and it’s the Austrians who’ll arguably go into this game the more desperate of the two sides. They’ll welcome back the perennially poorly-behaved Marko Arnautovic, but will it be enough to secure a win? I can’t see anything separating the two sides.
Before the Euros kicked off, I pegged the Netherlands to be one of the tournament’s big disappointments. They’ve been anything but so far and can afford to go into this clash in Amsterdam in a fairly relaxed frame of mind. Frank de Boer could give some of his extended squad members a run against a North Macedonian side that has proved predictably willing, if not somewhat out of their depth.
It’s hard to see anything but a comfortable Dutch victory as they look to cruise through to the knock-out phase on the back of three straight wins.
Denmark should beat Russia in Copenhagen, but the question is by how many goals? The Danes need to make up a two-goal deficit if they’re to have any chance of climbing off the foot of Group B, in what has proved one of the more unpredictable groups in the tournament.
They’ve clearly had the weight of Christian Eriksen’s tournament-ending collapse on their minds, and while the Danes will go into this clash as red-hot favourites, even a victory here may not be enough to salvage their tournament.
It’s tempting to tip Finland as the rank outsiders against Belgium, not least because the tournament has thankfully produced a couple of surprise results already. The Finns have certainly given a decent account of themselves and could even feature in the knock-out phase if they avoid defeat here. Unfortunately, that looks a tough ask against the red-hot Belgians, who should have far too much firepower for the side from the Baltics. Even if the Red Devils rest a few members of their starting side, they’ll expect nothing less than a comfortable win in Saint Petersburg.
Ukraine, Netherlands, Russia, Belgium
Ukraine and Austria both sit on three points heading into tonight’s fixture and tipping the winner is a tricky task. I’ll go with Ukraine based on their most recent performance and a firm belief that Austria do not have the weapons to challenge them.
The Netherlands should account for North Macedonia with ease in the same group, while Russia visit Denmark in what looks a likely win for the visitors. Then again, the Danes continue to ride a wave of emotion in the tournament and will be dangerous.
Anyone tipping Finland to beat Belgium is a brave soul, with a perfect form line on offer for one of the competition heavyweights as they head into the Round of 16. Goals aplenty and everyone to sit up and take notice of Belgium despite some pre-tournament doubts.
Ukraine, Netherlands, Russia, Belgium
Ukraine have some firepower, and they will fancy their chances of breezing into the round of 16 here against Austria. Despite the return of firebrand Marko Arnautovic and the form of Sasa Kalajdzic, Austria’s Euro journey will come to an end at the hands of their vastly superior opponents. Manchester City player Oleksandr Zinchenko will torment his marker down the left and front man Roman Yaremchuk will score a double to break Austria’s resistance in the second half. Austria will miss out on a third-place position by a point.
Home advantage will be the key for the Netherlands against North Macedonia. Despite an own goal setting away the Macedonians early in the game as they start brightly, it will be a matter of time before the goals start to flow. An equaliser on halftime will settle the nerves, then Memphis Depay will complete a perfect hat-trick with a diving header from a Frenkie De Jong cross. 4-1 the final score.
Denmark battled well against Belgium and can consider themselves unlucky to come away with nothing. Unlikely to have any chance of making the knock out stages, they will go all out for the win in front of their fans in Copenhagen, and it will be a real festival atmosphere.
Russia though will outmuscle the home team, and despite the two teams trading goals to reach halftime at 2-2, the anti-football played by the visitors, nullifying any midfield space, will produce an unlikely winner from Aleksandr Golovin, that leaves Denmark pointless from an emotional Euro 2020 appearance that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
The temptation to tip an upset in Finland vs Belgium is very high. The Finns have shown enough grit and desire to merit a place in the next round, but they will come up short again in an absorbing encounter in St Petersburg, roared on by thousands of fans from just across the border. Teemu Pukki will be a constant pest to a Belgian defence laden with household names, but we’ll see the cogs shift on the hour, Romelu Lukaku and Michi Batshuayi scoring to send Finland tumbling out.
Netherlands, draw, Belgium, draw
With home advantage in Amsterdam, their form so far and a demoralised opponent in North Macedonia, quite simply Oranje will round out the group with maximum points. The Netherlands will be patient, build pressure and then convert at least a couple of chances on the way to victory.
Ukraine only needs a point vs Austria to secure second and reach the Round of 16. A draw for the latter will also probably clinch them a spot as one of the best third-placed teams. Consequently, this could become a cagey low-scoring affair in Bucharest.
Belgium should have little difficulty prevailing over Finland who need at least a draw to ensure progression from the group stage. With the game being played in St Petersburg, most neutrals in the stadium will probably be cheering on Belgium, while Russia has its own battle to overcome in the form of Denmark, in a simultaneous kick time off time in Copenhagen.
Russia bounced back to narrowly next Finland, although it needed a favourable VAR review offside decision very early to cancel out a goal by their rivals.
One view is that there is little for the Danes to play for other than their own pride, fans and a nation still trying to move beyond the shared emotions associated with the Christian Eriksen medical emergency. However, I assume they would also love to be the team that ends Russian aspirations for the rest of this tournament.
Russia may scrape into the Round of 16 with only a point from this game, yet it’s more likely they’ll want to leave nothing to chance by pressing from the kick-off for a decisive victory. Artem Dzyuba holds the key for them as leader. Remember his three goals in five appearances at the 2018 World Cup?
|Match Day 3||Mike||Stuart||Texi||Pablo||The Crowd|
|UKR vs AUT||Draw||UKR||UKR||Draw||?|
|MKD vs NED||NED||NED||NED||NED||?|
|RUS vs DEN||Draw||RUS||RUS||DEN||?|
|FIN vs BEL||BEL||BEL||BEL||BEL||?|