Day 3 of #Euro2020 was just as good as the rest we've seen so far! We saw three more matches today, including the debut of a young and threatening England squad against an experienced and talented Croatia squad. It was also debut day in the European Championships for North Macedonia as they faced off against regular Austria. Finally, we saw the Netherlands return to major tournament play as they matched up against Ukraine.
England vs Croatia | Group D - Matchday 1 | London, England
For the first time in England's history, the Three Lions won their opening match of the European Championships. The winner came in the 57th minute of the game when Raheem Sterling beautifully slotted home an excellent ball from Kalvin Phillips. Speaking of, Phillips was all over the field today and may have played one of the best games of his life distributing the ball like N'golo Kante combined with Kevin De Bruyne. Simply a fantastic performance from Phillips today. England created a couple of other opportunities throughout the game to score, most notably when Phil Foden hit the post early in the match.
On paper, the game looked to be very evenly matched, even after all was said and done. England led the possession battle, out-possessing Croatia 52%-48%, but both teams took 8 shots and attempted 1 corner. Despite this, it was clear to those who watched that England was the better team today.
With the win, England will place on top of Group D, while Croatia moves to the bottom of the group. Scotland and Czech Republic both play on Monday to determine the final order of Group D in #Euro2020 Matchday 1.
Austria vs North Macedonia | Group C - Matchday 1 | Bucharest, Romania
Austria took home their first major tournament win since 1990 when they took down North Macedonia in their #Euro2020 opener. Stefan Lainer got the scoring started in the 18th minute when the Austrian floated and volleyed in an absolute beauty of a goal! It took North Macedonia 10 minutes to respond when 38-year old Goran Pandev scored the Macedonians' first-ever European Championship goal. Michael Gregoritsch found the winner for Austria in the 78th minute of the game as he responded to an uncontrolled ball from the NMian goalkeeper. To top it off, Marko Arnautovic of Austria found the late insurance goal following a defensive error. Realistically, it's not real surprise Austria won this game. They out-possessed MKD by a margin of 60%-40% while also taking 11 shots compared to North Macedonia's 7 shots. It wasn't domination by any means, but it is a reasonable win considering the numbers. With the results of Group C, Austria tops the group with a goal difference of +2 while North Macedonia goes opposite and bottoms the group with the negative goal difference.
Netherlands vs Ukraine | Group C - Matchday 1 | Amsterdam, Netherlands
A thriller this one was! These are the kinds of matches any neutral fan loves to see! Following a scoreless 1st half, the Netherlands scored two quick goals to take a 2-0 lead over Ukraine in the 52nd and 58th minutes of the game. But wait... there's more! Ukraine wasn't out yet! Doing the seemingly impossible, Ukraine scored two quick goals of their own to bring the game level in the 75th and 79th minutes of the game! From there, it seemed surely Ukraine had salvaged a point to start #Euro2020, but the Netherlands weren't quite done. Denzel Dumfries headed in the eventual game-winner in the 85th minute of the game to put NED in front!
It's a story we've seen several times already this tournament - one team dominated the other in possession but didn't have the overly impressive goal difference to show for it. Netherlands out-possessed Ukraine 63%-37% and outshot them 15 shots to 8 shots.
With the results of Group C, the Netherlands falls into the #2 spot on the table after #Euro2020 Matchday 1 for Group C. Ukraine falls into the #3 spot based on goal differential.
Check back here tomorrow for another update just like this one on the previous days' matches! Also follow us at @SSN_Soccer for more up-to-date content from #Euro2020!