Another open group!
Austria will be taking part in their 3rd Euro’s this summer. They made their debut in 2008 and then played in 2016. In both of their previous competitions they have failed to get past the group stage. They are ranked 23rd in the FIFA rankings.
Goalkeepers – Alexander Schlager (LASK), Pavao Pervan (Wolfsburg), Daniel Bachmann (Watford)
Defenders – Andreas Ulmer (Red Bull Salzburg), Aleksandar Dragovic (Red Star Belgrade), Martin Hinteregger (Eintracht Frankfurt), Stefan Posch (Hoffenheim), David Alaba (Real Madrid), Philipp Lienhart (Freiburg), Christopher Trimmel (Union Berlin), Stefan Lainer (Monchengladbach), Marco Friedl (Werder Bremen)
Midfielders – Stefan Ilsanker (Eintracht Frankfurt), Florian Grillitsch (Hoffenheim), Julian Baumgartlinger (Bayer Leverkusen), Louis Schaub (Luzern), Alessandro Schopf (Schalke), Christoph Baumgartner (Hoffenheim), Valentino Lazaro (Monchengladbach), Xaver Schlager (Wolfsburg), Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig)
Forwards – Marko Arnautovic (Shanghai), Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig), Michael Gregoritsch (Augsburg), Karim Onisiwo (Mainz), Sasa Kalajdzic (Stuttgart)
Manager – Franco Foda
Most Caps – Aleksandar Dragovic (90)
Captain – Julian Baumgartlinger
Star Player – David Alaba
Austria find themselves in an open group and have a good chance of finishing in the top 3 positions and getting into the knockout stage. Alaba, Baumgartlinger, Lazaro, Laimer, Aranautovic, and Sabitzer are all players I am familiar with. I back them to get out of the group stage but anything beyond that would require some serious hard work.
Netherlands will be taking part in their 10th Euros this summer. The Orange made their debut in 1976 and won the Euro’s in 1988. They failed to qualify for the Euros in 2016 so this is more of a welcome back to one of the better teams in Europe. The Dutch are ranked 14th in the world.
Goalkeepers – Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Tim Krul (Norwich City), Marco Bizot (AZ Alkmaar)
Defenders – Joel Veltman (Brighton), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Nathan Ake (Man City), Owen Wijndal (AZ Alkmaar), Stefan de Vrij (Inter), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Daley Blind (Ajax), Denzel Dumfries (PSV Eindhoven), Jurrien Timber (Ajax)
Midfielders – Georginio Wijnaldum (Barcelona), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Marten De Roon (Atalanta), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax), Donny van de Beek (Man United), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Teun Koopmeiners (AZ Alkmaar)
Forwards – Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Donyell Malen (PSV Eindhoven), Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg), Cody Gakpo (PSV Eindhoven)
Manager – Frank De Boer
Most Caps – Georginio Wijnaldum (74)
Captain – Georginio Wijnaldum
Star Player – Memphis Depay
Netherlands might be missing Virgil van Dijk at the back but apart from that they have a strong team all over the pitch. Tim Krul is an amazing goalkeeper supported by a defence with some big names like de Ligt, Veltman, Ake, Wijndal, de Vrij, and van Aanholt. Not to mention Daley Blind who is an experienced player now. In the midfield they have a mix of creativity and fight. Wijnaldum, Klaasen, De Roon, Gravenberch, van de Beek, de Jong, and Koopmeiners are all top class players and sought after in Europe. Up front Berghuis is wonderful forward along with the likes of de Jong who is more experienced. Depay will be the star man in the forward lines but Malen, Promes, and Weghorst are people to keep an eye on. I think Netherlands will top this group and they could be underdogs to progress further in the competition.
North Macedonia are going to be taking part in their first tournament ever. They sit 65th in the world ranking and similar to Finland should be more than happy to make the tournament. I don’t expect much from them but they are part of a group where finishing 2nd or 3rd should not be totally out of question.
Goalkeepers – Stole Dimitrievski (Rayo Vallecano), Risto Jankov (Rabotnichki), Damjan Shishkovski (Doxa)
Defenders – Egzon Bejtulai (Shkendija), Gjoko Zajkov (Charleroi), Kire Ristevski (AEL), Visar Musliu (Fehervar), Ezgjan Alioski (Leeds United), Stefan Ristovski (Dinamo Zagreb), Darko Velkovski (Rijeka)
Midfielders – Arijan Ademi (Dinamo Zagreb), Ferhan Hasani (Partizani), Tihomir Kostadinov (Ruzomberok), Boban Nikolov (Lecce), Enis Bardhi (Levante), Stefan Spirovski (AEK), Elif Elmas (Napoli), Marjan Radeski (Akademija Pandev), Daniel Avramovski (Kayserispor), Darko Churlinov (Stuttgart)
Forwards – Ivan Trichkovski (AEK), Aleksandar Trajkovski (Mallorca), Goran Pandev (Genoa), Vlatko Stojanovski (Chambly), Krste Velkoski (Sarajevo), Milan Ristovski (Spartak Trnava)
Manager – Igor Angelovski
Most Caps – Goran Pandev (119)
Captain – Goran Pandev
Star Player – Goran Pandev
When it comes to North Macedonia’s squad the only players I know or have heard of are Alioski, Bardhi, Elmas, and Goran Pandev. Pandev of course has been around for many seasons now mainly in Serie A. Bardhi and Elmas are upcoming talents in Europe while Alioski is a main stay in the Leeds team. North Macedonia can go into this competition without any pressure. Take every game as it is and then whatever they achieve at least they gave it their all. An exciting time for the country.
Ukraine are going to be taking part in their 3rd Euros this summer having qualified for the last two as well. They have failed to get past the group stage in both those tournaments though. Ukraine are ranked 24th in the world and have some decent talent in their squad.
Goalkeeper – Heorhiy Bushchan (Dynamo Kyiv), Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Anatoliy Trubin (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Defenders – Eduard Sobol (Club Brugge), Serhiy Kryvtsov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Illya Zabarnyi (Dynamo Kyiv), Vitaliy Mykolenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Oleksandr Karavayev (Dynamo Kyiv), Mykola Matviyenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Oleksandr Tymchyk (Dynamo Kyiv), Denys Popov (Dynamo Kyiv)
Midfielders – Heorhiy Sudakov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Serhiy Sydorchuk (Dynamo Kyiv), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham), Ruslan Malinovskyi (Atalanta), Mykola Shaparenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Marlos (Shakhtar Donetsk), Yevhenii Makarenko (Kortrijk), Viktor Tsyhankov (Dynamo Kyiv), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Man City), Roman Bezus (Gent), Oleksandr Zubkov (Ferencvaros)
Forwards – Roman Yaremchuk (Gent), Artem Besyedin (Dynamo Kyiv), Artem Dovbyk (Dnipro)
Manager – Andriy Shevchenko
Most Caps – Andriy Pyatov (96)
Captain – Andriy Pyatov
Star Player – Andriy Yarmolenko
This Ukraine squad has done really well under Shevchenko since he became their manager. Consistent would be the word I associate with them. Pyatov has been a main stay at the back and is one of the better goalkeepers in the tournament. When it comes to the rest of the squad I know Yarmolenko, Zinchenko, Marlos and Yaremchuk. It’s an interesting squad and along with Netherlands and Austria I feel they will be challenging for those top 3 spots. The next step for Ukraine would be to reach the knockout stages.