Matchday 2 Review
Netherlands Dominated Austria
The Netherlands were a much better team than Austria on the field, playing good offensive football and missing chances (xG 3.3, xA 2.1). They had similar possession, number of passes, and passing accuracy. However, Austria wasn’t organised and did not look like they have a plan to follow. Therefore, when the Netherlands attacked, they created a better quality of chances, 13, a bit more than Austria’s 9 chances.
Austria and Netherlands on the defensive front had similar numbers in tackles, interceptions, and blocks. Even offensively, they had the same successful dribbles, key passes, and passes into the final third. The main difference seemed to be that the Dutch players served their coach’s tactics and followed his plan. The fresh Dutch team showed at times their individual quality.
Austria was disorganised, especially in the first 60 minutes of the game, and only improved after the changes made tactically and to players with the substitutions.
Denzel Dumfries has been amazing so far with his constant pressure on the opponents, numerous key passes, and a high number of expected goals. Frenkie de Jong‘s value comes from his passing ability and pressure. Memphis Depay has been an important threat up front with a high number of expected goals and key passes. Wijnaldum has been good all around, though we do expect to see more.
David Alaba has brought his experience and his passing has been great. Stefan Lainer has been great defensively with plenty of tackles and blocks.
Ukraine’s Quality Was Too Much for Northern Macedonia
Ukraine had the chances but risked conceding a late goal that would have ruined their tournament. They were lethal in the first half and played good football at times. Northern Macedonia wasn’t as focused but definitely showed some class. They have technically gifted players that did not perform to their full abilities and their defensive focus didn’t pay out. However, they could have gotten a draw from the game regardless of the huge xG and xA difference between the two teams. The two teams had similar possession, passes, passing accuracy, total shots, as well as corners, carries, and touches.
Ruslan Malinovskyi is great in passing, key passes, as well as pressure. Andriy Yarmolenko leads in expected goals. Oleksandr Zinchenko had some nice passes to the final third and has been solid defensively with pressure, blocks, and tackles/interceptions. Oleksandr Karavayev has been crucial defensively.
Enis Bardhi has had a good amount of key passes so far in this tournament. Stefan Ristovski and Darko Velkovski are the pillars of the North Macedonia defense with their tackles, interceptions, and blocks.
Matchday 3 Outlook
Both Austria and Ukraine will qualify with a draw, but chances are that Ukraine won’t risk conceding a late goal. Austria disappointed in their previous game and will face a challenge against a Ukrainian team that looks thirsty to qualify. Will Austria continue the good first-half form that they showed against North Macedonia? They need to play more like a team. We hope that they are more concentrated on their task at hand from now on, as they have the quality to compete against similar and even better opponents.
The Netherlands has qualified and North Macedonia has already exited the tournament. The game between them might not be appropriate to make judgments and the two coaches may make tactical changes, rest players, and give minutes to their benches.