UEFA Euro 2020: Ukraine, Belgium, Netherlands earn vital wins on Matchday 8
The 2020 UEFA Euro is done with its Matchday 7 commitments. Ukraine, Belgium and Netherlands were the three teams involved in wins. Check out how things panned out on this matchday.
The UEFA Euro 2020 is already producing some top and intense matches that continued on Matchday 8. Ukraine, Belgium and Netherlands are the teams the secured wins in their respective groups, as some took a giant step closer to the pre-quarters qualification. In the same light, we present the round-up of this matchday.
Ukraine pips North Macedonia
The opening game saw Ukraine taking on North Macedonia at the
Arena Naţională in Bucharest. It turned out to be a one-sided encounter in the opening half, with Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk putting the side ahead with their respective strikes in the 29th and 34th minute, thus leading 2-0 at half-time. Although Macedonia produced relatively better gameplay in the following half, as Ezgjan Alioski fired in a rebound of his missed penalty in the 57th, it wasn't enough to save itself from a 1-2 defeat.
- Yarmolenko is the first Ukrainian to score in consecutive matches of the Euro/World Cup since 2006 when Andriy Shevchenko did the same.
- Yarmolenko and Yaremchuk are the first pair to score in the opening two games of the competition to date.
- So far, Euro 2020 and 2016 is the joint second edition to have seen most penalties being missed (4), while the most such happened in 2000 (5).
Belgium battles past Denmark
In the second game of the evening, Denmark was up against Belgium at the Telia Parken in Copenhagen. The Danish was without Christian Eriksen, who continues to recover from his scary on-field cardiac arrest in the opening game defeat to Finland.
Denmark was off to a scoring start, with Yussuf Poulsen putting the side ahead within just the opening couple of minutes, as it maintained the lead at half-time. In the next half, Belgium toiled but bounced back, as Thorgan Hazard levelled it in the 55th minute, followed by Kevin De Bruyne, whose 70th-minute winner sealed it, while Belgium was through to the pre-quarters.
- Poulsen is the second quickest scorer in the tournament's history at 99 seconds, while the fastest happens to be Russia's Dmitry Kirichenko (65 seconds) against Greece in 2004.
- Since the 2014 FIFA World Cup, De Bruyne has produced eight assists in Euro/World Cup, which is the second-most by any European player since then.
- De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are the only European players to have assisted in all of the previous four major tournaments (Euro/World Cup).
- Eden Hazard and De Bruyne are the first duos as substitutes to assist in a Euro game for the same side since Netherlands' Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben in 2008 against France.
- Eden Hazard now has the most assists in Euro/World Cup (9) since World Cup 2014.
The Netherlands controls Austria
In the final game of the day, Netherlands was up against Austria at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam. Although the match was closely fought, the Netherlands passed the test, with Memphis Depay putting the side ahead in the 11th minute through a penalty, as the Dutch-led at half-time. In the final half, Denzel Dumfries's 67th-minute winner sealed the deal, thus sealing its knockouts berth.
- Dumfries has become the second player to score in the opening two Euro games for the Netherlands after Ruud van Nistelrooy.
- The Netherlands remains unbeaten in nine matches of major tournaments (Euro/World Cup), which is the second-longest run since Portugal (12) between 2014-18.
- In another interesting observation, the Netherlands XI for the game produced the longest age gap between teammates of 19 years and 236 days, between Maarten Stekelenburg (38 years) and Ryan Gravenberch (19 years).
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