UEFA EURO 2020 daily preview: what to look out for on Thursday

The second set of group games continue as Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria seek early progress.

UEFA EURO 2020 group stage Matchday 2 continues on Thursday with three sides eyeing possible progress.

We preview the action as Ukraine meet North Macedonia, Denmark play Belgium and the Netherlands face Austria.

21:00: Ukraine vs North Macedonia (Group C, Bucharest)

It was a frustrating start for both these teams as Ukraine wiped out a two-goal deficit against the Netherlands only to concede late on and lose 3-2 in Amsterdam, while debutants North Macedonia were holding Austria 1-1 with 12 minutes left in Bucharest before letting in two goals.

Still, for North Macedonia there was the moment when national hero Goran Pandev got their first finals goal, and became the second-oldest EURO scorer into the bargain. They will now be hoping to make more history in the Romanian capital, not least since the losing side in this game could be eliminated later in the evening depending on the Netherlands-Austria result.

Key stat: This is just the fifth time these times will meet, and first in six years. Ukraine won twice in EURO 2016 qualifying, while their two previous friendlies produced a draw and a North Macedonia win.

00:00: Denmark vs Belgium (Group B, Copenhagen)

Following the intense emotions of Christian Eriksen’s medical emergency in Denmark’s opening defeat by Finland, his side return to Parken Stadium for what will surely be a poignant occasion. This time the Danes face the team at the top of the FIFA rankings, with Belgium knowing a second victory after their impressive defeat of Russia would take them into the round of 16 with a game to spare.

The Red Devils could be boosted by the return of Axel Witsel from an injury that has kept him out since January, and also Kevin De Bruyne, back in training after his facial fracture in the UEFA Champions League final.

Key stat: The teams have had a remarkably even record over the years, each winning six of the 15 fixtures to date. Seven of those have taken place in Copenhagen, where both sides have triumphed three times.

03:00: Netherlands vs Austria (Group C, Amsterdam)

A place in the knockout stage is the prize on offer for the victors of this game, the only Matchday 2 encounter between two opening-game winners. Depending on the result in Bucharest earlier, another three points might even confirm first place.

The Netherlands’ last six matches have produced 27 goals (19 for, eight against), and their roller-coaster 3-2 defeat of Ukraine in the Dutch capital was on trend. Coach Frank de Boer has confirmed that Matthijs de Ligt will start against Austria and will most likely replace JurriĆ«n Timber in the heart of a three-man defence.

Key stat: The Netherlands have won all of the countries’ last six matches, scoring 18 times across that period: an average of three goals per game.

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