Italy have done all this before.

The Azzurri were World Cup regulars – and contenders – until remarkably failing to qualify for the first time since the 1958 tournament when they were beaten by Sweden in the play-offs for Russia 2018.

Of course, Italy feared a repeat when they were consigned to the play-off route again for Qatar 2022, but a potential final against Portugal was surely of greater concern than a home semi with North Macedonia.

Sensationally, however, the visitors stunned the European champions in Palermo, where Aleksandar Trajkovski's 92nd-minute blast secured the unlikeliest of 1-0 wins.

It means Italy are yet again featuring on a list of shock World Cup absentees.

ITALY/SPAIN 1958

Until these past two upsets, Italy's only failure to qualify for the World Cup had come in the 1950s. Needing to beat Northern Ireland in their final game of the three-team group, the Azzurri slumped to a 2-1 loss in Belfast. More surprising was the absence of Spain, as a team of legends including Alfredo Di Stefano and Luis Suarez missed out on a place in Sweden. A draw with Switzerland and defeat to Scotland meant that 4-1 victories in both return matches were not enough to salvage their hopes.

ENGLAND 1974

England were on top of the world in 1966 having lifted the Jules Rimet trophy on home turf. It remains the Three Lions' only triumph at a World Cup and, eight years later, England were not even at the tournament held in West Germany. In a three-team group with Wales and Poland, a 2-0 defeat and 1-1 draw with the latter meant Alf Ramsey's side did not qualify. Twenty years later, England again disappointed as they failed to qualify for USA '94 under Graham Taylor.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA 1978

Having won the European Championship two years previously with their attractive brand of football, there were high hopes for Czechoslovakia heading into qualifying for the tournament in Argentina. However, battles of Britain proved their downfall as losses in Wales and Scotland scuppered their hopes of adding World Cup glory to their European triumph.

NETHERLANDS 1986

After reaching the World Cup final in both 1974 and 1978, there was a down period for Netherlands, who missed out in '82 and also failed to qualify for Euro '84. A crop of players including Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, and Marco van Basten were expected to bring about a turnaround in fortunes for the Dutch ahead of the next World Cup in Mexico. However, they had to settle for a play-off against neighbours Belgium after finishing second in their qualifying group, and Georges Grun's header with just five minutes left on the clock saw them crash out on away goals. Netherlands also failed to qualify in 2002 and were not in Russia four years ago.

FRANCE 1994

Les Bleus had failed to qualify for Italia '90 having finished third in 1986. That failure was accepted as something of a transitional period, but a star-studded team featuring the likes of Laurent Blanc, Jean-Pierre Papin and Eric Cantona were unable to secure the necessary result against Bulgaria in their final qualifier for the 1994 World Cup in the United States. France led through Eric Cantona but were pegged back by an Emil Kostadinov leveller before half-time. Gerard Houllier's side looked set to cling on to the point that would see them through until David Ginola infamously gave the ball away with an ill-judged cross in the final minute that allowed Kostadinov to make it 2-1 on the break, leaving French hopes dashed.

EGYPT 2010

Incredibly, Egypt's appearance at the 2018 World Cup was their first since 1990. That is despite their 2000s domination of the Africa Cup of Nations, with three consecutive victories between 2006 and 2010. Their failure to reach South Africa 12 years ago was arguably the greatest disappointment. After finishing with an identical record to Algeria, a play-off was needed to separate the two, with Egypt falling to a 1-0 defeat to extend their wait for a return to the global stage.

CHILE 2018

The depth of talent in South America means there are always likely to be notable casualties, but even then the two-time defending Copa America champions would have expected to contend on a global stage in Russia. However, Chile could only finish sixth in an incredibly tight group, without even a play-off to show for their efforts while Lionel Messi inspired Argentina to qualification with a hat-trick against Ecuador – his own participation in the finals having been in question until that point.

Italy were "destroyed" by their shock defeat to North Macedonia, with Giorgio Chiellini saying their failure to qualify for the World Cup opened "a great void". 

The reigning European champions fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to North Macedonia, with former Palermo attacker Aleksandar Trajkovski netting a surprise winner for the visitors in the 92nd minute. 

Italy have now failed to qualify for two straight World Cups. They will not be able to feature on that stage until 2026, with their only win in the competition since they triumphed in 2006 coming against England in the 2014 group stage.

The defeat to North Macedonia marked an incredible turnaround in fortunes for Italy, who won Euro 2020 as part of a 37-game undefeated streak that ended in October – a month after they dropped valuable points against Bulgaria and Switzerland in their World Cup qualifying group. 

Roberto Mancini's side ended up missing out on top spot to Switzerland after two further draws, and their capitulation at the Renzo Barbera was tough for Chiellini to take. 

"It's hard to explain. There is great disappointment. We played a great match but just couldn't score," Chiellini told Rai Sport. 

"We weren't presumptuous. We were missing something. We made mistakes from September until today and we paid for them. 

"I am proud of this team, but it's obvious we are disappointed and destroyed. We have to start again. 

"It's difficult to comment so quickly. There will remain a great void and I hope this void will give the energy needed to restart. We have to start against to win again and get back to the top of the European Championship and in four years go to the World Cup." 

Veteran defender Chiellini refused to confirm whether the loss would prove to be his final match for Italy, saying "now is not the right moment."

Italy will miss out on a second successive World Cup after Aleksandar Trajkovski's stoppage-time strike gave North Macedonia a sensational 1-0 victory at Renzo Barbera.

Having also failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia, the European champions will not go for glory in Qatar this year after suffering their first World Cup qualifying defeat on home soil.

Roberto Mancini's side dominated the game, but they were made to pay for their lack of a cutting edge in a dramatic finale.

Trajkovski was North Macedonia’s hero, beating Gianluigi Donnarumma from 25 years in the second minute of stoppage time set up a showdown with Portugal for a place in the World Cup.

Italy were jolted ahead of the World Cup play-off against North Macedonia when two members of the Azzurri staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The European champions are bidding to qualify for the Qatar 2022 tournament, knowing a win over Thursday's opponents would see them go into a straight fight with Portugal or Turkey for a place in the finals next Tuesday.

Those have tested positive have gone into isolation.

Italy boss Roberto Mancini will hope there are no further cases detected at the Coverciano training base, particularly among his playing squad.

The identities of those who have tested positive have not yet been disclosed by the FIGC, Italy's football federation, which said targeted checks would continue.

A statement from the FIGC said: "During the preventive anti-COVID checks at the entrance to the national team meeting, two cases of COVID positivity were found among the members of the national team staff. The people were promptly isolated and re-entry was organised.

"Other positive cases relating to the organisational support staff to the national team emerged upon the arrival of the staff in Coverciano and, also in this case, the parties concerned were isolated and not admitted to the technical centre."

Manchester City defender Ruben Dias has been left out of Portugal's squad for this month's crucial World Cup play-offs, as the 24-year-old continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

The central defender has been out of action since sustaining the injury in the Premier League champions' FA Cup win over Peterborough United last month.

Fernando Santos will also be unable to call upon fellow injury absences Renato Sanches and Nelson Semedo, as he seeks to avoid being the first Portugal coach to fail to qualify for a major tournament since the country missed out on the 1998 World Cup in France.

After a last-gasp 2-1 loss to Serbia saw Portugal fail to qualify automatically for the World Cup, Portugal will host Turkey in a play-off semi-final on March 24, before the winner of that clash takes on either Italy or North Macedonia five days later for a place in Qatar.

Dias was named Premier League player of the season for the 2020-21 campaign, and has contributed to the league leaders keeping a joint-high 17 clean sheets in 29 top-flight games this term. 

In Dias' absence, uncapped Sporting CP defender Goncalo Inacio gets his second senior call-up, with 38-year-old Lille defender Jose Fonte and Porto's 39-year-old stalwart Pepe likely to form an experienced defensive partnership.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who has hit 115 goals in 184 appearances for his country's senior team, is one of three Manchester United players to make the squad, being joined by Diego Dalot and Bruno Fernandes.

Speaking to the press after announcing his squad, Santos emphasised the importance of the Turkey match, and insisted his 37-year-old captain remains a crucial part of his group.

"We have to win," said the Euro 2016 winner. "We have a goal, we have to fulfil it, it's a goal of the people. 

"All the national team's games will always be very important for the people. [We must] play for Portugal, as there have been others who have marked the history of Portuguese football.

"More important than anything is Portugal. That is the case for us and for the people that we are going to play for, and that also includes our captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who is a very important piece."

Although Dias will not play any part in the crucial match-up with Turkey, club team-mates Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva have both been named in Santos' squad.

Portugal squad: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Diogo Costa (FC Porto), Rui Patricio (Roma); Cedric Soares (Arsenal), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Diogo Dalot (Manchester United), Goncalo Inacio (Sporting CP), Jose Fonte (Lille), Pepe (FC Porto), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund); Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain), Matheus Nunes (Sporting CP), William Carvalho (Real Betis), Ruben Neves (Wolves), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Joao Moutinho (Wolves), Otavio Monteiro (FC Porto); Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Rafael Leao (Milan); Andre Silva (RB Leipzig), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

Timo Werner scored a double as Germany became the first team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup thanks to a 4-0 win over North Macedonia in Monday's Group J clash.

Hansi Flick's side – who have now won all five games under their new head coach – seized the early initiative at the Tose Proeski Arena, with Timo Werner denied by the woodwork as the visitors registered 15 first-half shots.

However, Kai Havertz broke the deadlock after 50 minutes before Werner added a quickfire double to put the game out of the hosts' reach.

Jamal Musiala then added a late fourth and, with Armenia dropping points against Romania, Germany claimed an unassailable eight-point lead at the summit to quality for Qatar 2022.

Havertz teed up both Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Muller in the opening stages but neither could beat Stole Dimitrievski with headers, before Darko Velkovski nodded wide at the other end.

Serge Gnabry then poked narrowly wide and Werner, who was earlier denied from point-blank range by Dimitrievski, struck the left-hand post as Germany failed to make their 76.5 per cent first-half possession pay.

Flick's team, however, opened the scoring after the interval as Muller raced onto Gnabry's throughball before squaring for Havertz to tap into an empty net.

Werner was unfortunate to not double the lead after a ricochet off the North Macedonia goalkeeper 10 minutes later, but the Chelsea forward made amends.

Muller collected his second assist as he slotted through for Werner, who rifled an unstoppable right-footed volley into the bottom-right corner before curling into the same corner three minutes later following Florian Wirtz's offload.

Gnabry should have added a fourth but he could only volley over from Muller's chipped pass, though Musiala latched onto fellow substitute Karim Adeyemi's ball to roll into the bottom-right corner and seal the victory.

Denmark lit up Euro 2020 on Monday as they thumped Russia 4-1 to finish second in Group B and progress to the last 16.

Belgium ran out winners in that group after a 2-0 win over Finland, with Markku Kanerva's side finishing third by virtue of an inferior goal difference to Denmark.

In Group C, the Netherlands sealed top spot with a 3-0 victory against rock-bottom North Macedonia, with Austria joining them in the knockout stages after overcoming Ukraine, who finished third. 

Using Opta data, Stats Perform takes a look at some of the best facts from Monday's games.

Russia 1-4 Denmark: Hjulmand's side progress in spectacular fashion

Denmark produced one of the standout displays of the tournament so far to set up a last-16 clash with Wales in Amsterdam on Saturday. 

The sensational win meant Denmark became the first team in European Championship history to reach the knockout stages of the competition having lost their first two group-stage games.

It also marked the first time Denmark had scored four goals in a major tournament game since a 4-1 victory over Nigeria at the 1998 World Cup.

Mikkel Damsgaard put Denmark ahead shortly before the interval to become his country's youngest ever goalscorer at a major tournament, with the forward also the first player born in the 2000s to score in the European Championship. 

Yussuf Poulsen added a second, the RB Leipzig man netting in consecutive games for Denmark for only the second time, also doing so in June 2018 against Mexico in a friendly and Peru at the World Cup.

Artem Dzyuba then scored his 30th international goal to move level with Aleksandr Kerzhakov as the all-time joint top-scorer for Russia – since the dissolution of the Soviet Union (USSR), but Andreas Christensen and Joakim Maehle wrapped up a memorable win for Kasper Hjulmand's side.

Finland 0-2 Belgium: Martinez's Red Devils march on in style

This latest victory means Belgium have won all three group games at back-to-back major tournaments, while it is the first time they have won all of their group fixtures at a single European Championship tournament.

Belgium went ahead in the 74th minute when Thomas Vermaelen's header from a corner bounced up onto the post and went in off the unfortunate Lukas Hradecky's hand.

Hradecky became just the second goalkeeper in European Championship history to score an own goal after Wojciech Szczesny for Poland against Slovakia earlier in the tournament.

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku then netted his third goal of the tournament seven minutes later.

Since making his major international tournament debut for Belgium in 2014, the Inter forward has scored 10 goals in such competitions – only Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and France's Antoine Griezmann have scored more major tournament goals for a European nation during this period (11 each).

Belgium's Jeremy Doku (19 years and 25 days), meanwhile, became the second youngest player to appear for the nation at a European Championship tournament after Enzo Scifo (18 years and 115 days).

North Macedonia 0-3 Netherlands: Oranje make history in third consecutive win

Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum starred as the Netherlands won all three of their group-stage games at the European Championship for the third time (also 2000 and 2008) – more than any other side in the competition.

Their latest win meant the Oranje have scored two goals in 10 successive games for the first time ever, while they now have 65 goals at the European Championship finals, leapfrogging France into second place to sit behind only Germany (76) in the competition's history. 

Barcelona-bound Depay got the Netherlands on their way with his 50th goal involvement in 67 appearances for the national team (28 goals and 22 assists). He has now been involved in 13 goals in his last 10 games for the Oranje in all competitions (nine goals and four assists).

In his 78th appearance for the Netherlands, Paris Saint-Germain recruit Wijnaldum scored his 24th and 25th goals. Fifteen of these strikes have been in his 25 games since the start of 2019, with no player scoring more for the Dutch during this time.

North Macedonia, meanwhile, are just the fourth team to lose 100 per cent of their matches at their first appearance in the European Championships, after Turkey in 1996, Denmark in 1964 and France in 1960.

Ukraine 0-1 Austria: Baumgartner seals last-16 spot

This win meant Austria progressed to the knockout stages of a European Championship for the first time in their history. 

They were in dominant mood against their meek opponents, taking 18 shots – a tally they have only bettered twice before in a European Championship game (23 against Iceland in 2016 and 20 against Croatia in 2008).

Austria only found the back of the net once, though, Christoph Baumgartner becoming the youngest player ever to score for the nation at the European Championship, aged 21 years and 324 days.

He was teed up by Real Madrid's David Alaba, who registered his third assist in six appearances for Austria in the competition – two more than any other Austrian. 

Ukraine, meanwhile, have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their nine games at the European Championship – the most matches played in the competition by a team without having their defence breached.

Memphis Depay applauded Donyell Malen's impact on his first start at Euro 2020 against North Macedonia as the young forward proved a frequent creative outlet.

The Oranje won 3-0 on Monday as they finished the group stage with a 100 per cent record for only the third time in European Championship history.

While North Macedonia were by no means lacking threat in attack, as their 1.14 xG (expected goals) value suggested they were unfortunate to not get on the scoresheet, the Dutch were a cut above.

 

Depay put them in front in the 24th minute, playing his part in a counter that released Malen into the box and he picked out the new Barcelona signing with a square pass.

That was one of four key passes on the day for Malen, twice as many as anyone else on the pitch – in fact, only Steven Zuber and Domenico Berardi (five) have managed to create more chances from open play in a single Euro 2020 match than him.

 

Malen had impressed as a substitute in each of the Netherlands' first two matches, prompting fans to fly a plane over their training session on Sunday urging Frank de Boer to finally give him a start, and his team-mates were suitably impressed.

"Donyell and I haven't played together very often, but you saw that when we got the ball we had so much threat attacking from deep," Depay said.

"Perhaps that was also because of North Macedonia, but we did find each other a few times. He had his assist, I had my assist. I liked it."

 

Frenkie de Jong added: "Malen is just a very good player, threatening in the depths and he can score a goal. Three goals is not bad, but it could have been more."

Malen started in place of Wout Weghorst, who scored in the Oranje's opener and hit the crossbar when he came on against North Macedonia.

While Malen's pace in attack would appear to fit in better with the Netherlands' high intensity in attack, which is identified by the fact their 44 high turnovers is more than any other team at the Euros, De Boer is yet to decide what he will do in the last 16.

 

"It looked good at times. Wout of course also wanted to play, but he expected me to try something different today," the coach added.

"Whether we will do it again in the next game depends partly on the opponent. In any case, I think we have made progress in all aspects. At times it was a whirlwind and we are doing well."

Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum were in fine form as they inspired an easy 3-0 win for the Netherlands over North Macedonia on Monday, as the Oranje scored two goals in 10 successive games for the first time ever.

Frank de Boer's men were already confirmed as Group C winners and their opponents' Euro 2020 campaign was over regardless of the result in Amsterdam, and although North Macedonia put up a spirited fight, the Dutch outclassed them in the end.

A thrilling first half saw the Netherlands under pressure in spells, with Ivan Trickovski having a goal disallowed and Aleksandar Trajkovski hitting the upright, though the Oranje looked sharp going forward and went ahead through Depay.

The new Barcelona signing then teed up Wijnaldum to make it 2-0 and also played a major role in the latter's second of the day, as the Netherlands won all three group stage games at a European Championship for only the third time.

An agonisingly tight offside call that was verified by VAR denied Trickovski an early opener as he went fractionally early to reach a flick from Goran Pandev, making his final international appearance.

Pandev's ingenuity wreaked havoc again in the 22nd minute, a clever lay-off teeing up Trajkovski whose 20-yard effort crashed off the post.

But two minutes later it was 1-0 to the Oranje, Donyell Malen squaring to Depay for an easy finish at the end of a rapid breakaway that started with Pandev being clattered by Daley Blind.

The Netherlands' dominance resumed after the interval, as Depay passed across the face of goal for Wijnaldum to tap home.

The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder then got his second on the rebound after Depay had been denied at the end of an incisive move, before substitute Wout Weghorst hammered against the crossbar.

Pandev was withdrawn with the game beyond North Macedonia in the 69th minute, his team-mates giving him a guard of honour as he trudged off into international retirement, and their final chance for celebration was taken away as Darko Churlinov's well-taken goal was wiped out for offside.

 

What does it mean? The Netherlands show their class but doubts remain

There have been times in Euro 2020 – including in this match – when the Netherlands have arguably played the best football on display. For all of the pre-tournament sneering at De Boer, his men have, largely, dealt well with their group phase.

But it still feels a little early to have a comprehensive idea of just how far they will go. After all, most would have expected them to comfortably beat North Macedonia, and they did have a brief wobble against Ukraine.

There is a real possibility that they could get one of France, Germany or Portugal in the next round. Either way, the Dutch will entertain whoever they face.

What's next?

As Group C winners, Netherlands will next play a third-placed team from either Group D, E or F in the last 16. North Macedonia's tournament is over and are not in action again until September when World Cup qualification resumes.

Netherlands head coach Frank de Boer is relieved Memphis Depay's free transfer to Barcelona has gone through, because it removes a major distraction.

Barca confirmed on Saturday that the 27-year-old has agreed a two-year deal at Camp Nou that will officially go through when his Lyon contract expires at the end of this month.

Depay's future had been a hot topic of discussion ahead of the Netherlands' first two Euro 2020 matches – a 3-2 victory over Ukraine and a 2-0 win against Austria.

De Boer now wants Depay to do his talking on the pitch and is hopeful the forward can become an even better player after joining the Catalan giants.

"We are all looking for an improvement from him," De Boer said at a news conference on Sunday, previewing his side's final Group C clash with North Macedonia.

"It is a relief over the transfer to Barcelona, and maybe it can give him something extra to perform at the highest level.

"We need Memphis performing at his best level to reach as far as we can in this tournament. We are full of confidence and he is too.

"He knows what he wants, that's the reason why he's a special player for us."

Depay enjoyed an impressive final season in Ligue 1 with 20 goals, trailing only Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe (27).

The former Manchester United attacker's 12 assists and 94 chances created, meanwhile, were more than any other player managed in France's top flight.

He scored a penalty for the Netherlands in their win over Austria to make it eight goals since De Boer took charge last September – ahead of Sunday's Euros games, only Belgium's Romelu Lukaku had scored more across all competitions for a European nation over this period (10).

And while Depay has not been at his best in Oranje's two group games thus far, De Boer has full confidence in the PSV academy product.

"I think Memphis is the first person to criticise his own game, to say he can do better than he's shown so far," De Boer said.

"He's self-confident and knows exactly what he wants. He knows perfectly well if he played well or not, so let's hope for us that he can reach the level we have in mind.

"But still, he's really important for this team. In your eyes he maybe performs a little less than expected, but he won and scored a penalty, created some chances too, so we are confident about him."

The Netherlands are already assured of top spot in Group C ahead of Monday's match with North Macedonia, who are no longer able to reach the last 16 in their first major tournament.

De Boer plans to make changes to his starting line-up but has warned that his side will not take their foot off the gas at the Johan Cruijff Arena.

"North Macedonia want to get their first ever points at a tournament," he said. "They are proud to be here, but we want to win and will be taking it seriously.

"There is no way we will be taking them lightly. They beat Germany 2-1 recently so this will not be an easy game."

The Netherlands have never lost against North Macedonia, winning two and drawing two of their four previous meetings.

The Netherlands will be aiming to win all three of their group matches for just the third time in European Championship history when they take on North Macedonia on Monday.

Having opened with a 3-2 triumph over Ukraine, Frank de Boer's side saw off Austria 2-0 in their second outing to make sure of their place in the last 16.

Indeed, the Oranje are already certain of finishing top of Group C no matter what the results in the final round of fixtures, though there are no plans to rest and rotate in great numbers.

The Netherlands won three from three in the round-robin stage at Euro 2000, when they went on to reach the last four before losing on penalties to Italy, and then again eight years later, a tournament that saw them knocked out in the quarter-finals by Russia.

De Boer told the media on Sunday that he plans to make two changes to his starting line-up, though stopped short of revealing any names. He also confirmed his plan to continue with three at the back, a formation that has led to success so far.

"There is enough space between this game and the next one, so we can play a full-strength team ahead of the knockout phase," he said.

"We've had some really good moments against Ukraine and Austria, but there are still things that we can improve. That's what we have to work on."

While the Dutch are in good form, opponents North Macedonia are out to avoid losing their first three European Championship outings. Only two nations have achieved the unwanted hat-trick previously: Denmark in 1984 and Turkey in 1996.

They looked on course for a point in their opener against Austria, only to concede two late goals.

"Of course they want to have their first victory, but we want to win," De Boer - who missed from the spot in the 2000 shoot-out exit to Italy - said when previewing the fixture in Budapest.

"There is no way we think too easily about them – they won 2-1 against Germany (in March). This is not an opponent that you can easily beat, and they made the games against both Austria and Ukraine difficult. You have to be really sharp."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

North Macedonia - Ezgjan Alioski

Alioski has scored in two of his last three matches in all competitions for North Macedonia, as many as in his previous 17 games for his country. Indeed, the versatile wide player is looking to score in consecutive matches for the first time since October 2018, when he netted in three in a row.

 

The Netherlands – Denzel Dumfries 

Dumfries has found the net in each of his first two appearances in the competition, an unlikely scoring run considering he had not managed a goal in his previous 19 outings for the Netherlands. He has the chance to join illustrious company, too, as the only Dutchman to score in their first three European Championship games was Ruud van Nistelrooy, who did so at the 2004 edition.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- In four previous meetings between these sides, North Macedonia have not led for a single minute in any game, and they are yet to go ahead in a match at the European Championships, scoring both of their goals when trailing.
- North Macedonia are looking to avoid losing three consecutive matches for the first time since losing five in a row between June and November 2016.
- The Netherlands have scored two or more goals in each of their last nine games in all competitions, their longest run since May 1935 (also nine in a row). They have never scored two or more goals in 10 consecutive games in all competitions.
- Frenkie de Jong has completed five dribbles in each of his first two Euro 2020 matches. The last player to complete five or more dribbles in three consecutive European Championship matches was Zinedine Zidane for France, back at Euro 2000.
- Goran Pandev scored in his team's first international fixture against the Netherlands, nearly 17 years ago – it was in a World Cup qualifier played in October 2004 (2-2).

Belgium and the Netherlands joined Italy in booking their place in the knockout stages of Euro 2020 with victories over Denmark and Austria respectively.

The world's top-ranked side Belgium had to bounce back from a goal down to beat an inspired Denmark, with both teams paying tribute to Christian Eriksen after 10 minutes as the midfielder continues his recovery from a cardiac arrest.

Roberto Martinez's side need a point in their final Group B match to make certain of top spot, but the Netherlands are already through as Group C winners after seeing off Austria.

Ukraine also picked up all three points against North Macedonia in Thursday's action – just their second-ever victory at the European Championships.

Using Opta data, we take a look at some of the best facts from across the day's action.

Ukraine 2-1 North Macedonia: Shevchenko's men end losing Euros streak

Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk were on target for the second match running to end Ukraine's six-game losing streak at the European Championships.

With Yarmolenko and Yaremchuk's first-half goals, Ukraine became the first nation to have the same two players score in their first two games at a single Euros.

Ezgjan Alioski pulled one back at the second attempt after his penalty was saved, making it two goals in three games – as many as in his previous 17 for North Macedonia.

His penalty was given after a foul on Goran Pandev, who – at at 37 years and 325 days – is the oldest player to win a spot-kick in the Euros since data was first recorded in 1980.

Ruslan Malinovskyi failed to convert from 12 yards late on in a game which saw both sides win a penalty in the competition for the first time since England v France in 2004.

It means four of the six penalties taken at Euro 2020 have not been converted. The last tournament with more was Euro 2000 (five).

Denmark 1-2 Belgium: Red Devils bounce back from early setback

Belgium showed why they are ranked number one in the world as they recovered from an early setback to make it 11 wins from their last 12 group games at major competitions.

However, they had to do things the hard way after Yussuf Poulsen struck early on in Copenhagen.

Poulsen opened the scoring after 99 seconds – the second-earliest goal ever in the tournament, behind only Dmitry Kirichenko for Russia against Greece in 2004 (65 seconds).

The one shot on target Belgium managed in the first half came via Dries Mertens, who was earning his 100th cap for his country – the fifth Belgian to reach that landmark.

But the half-time introduction of Kevin De Bruyne for Mertens transformed the Red Devils, the playmaker setting up Thorgan Hazard's leveller and then drilling in the winner.

De Bruyne's fantastic strike was teed up by Eden Hazard, who joins the Manchester City star as the two European players to assist a goal at each of the last four major tournaments.

Belgium survived a nervy finish as they won their first two European Championship matches for the first time, while Denmark have lost their first two for the first time since 2000.

Netherlands 2-0 Austria: Faultless Oranje ease through

The Netherlands followed up their opening-game win against Ukraine with a routine victory against Austria in Amsterdam.

It is the third time the Oranje have won their opening two Euros matches, having previously done so in 2000 and 2008, when they exited the competition at the semi-final and quarter-final stage respectively.

Frank de Boer's men are now unbeaten in their last nine matches at major tournaments, which is the longest run by a European nation since Portugal went 12 without defeat between 2014 and 2018.

Memphis Depay opened the scoring for the Netherlands from the penalty spot, the Lyon forward's eighth goal for his country since De Boer took charge last September, with only Belgium's Romelu Lukaku scoring more (10) across all competitions for a European side over that period.

Denzel Dumfries added the second goal and is just the second Netherlands player to net in his first two appearances at the Euros after Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2004, this after the right-back failed to score in his first 19 senior caps.

One of the unsung stars for the hosts was Dumfries' fellow defender Matthijs de Ligt, who completed 100 per cent of his 40 passes – a record for a Netherlands player in a European Championship match since records began in 1980.

Ukraine boosted their chances of reaching the Euro 2020 knockout phase with a 2-1 victory over North Macedonia on Thursday.

Andriy Yarmolenko scored the opener and set up Roman Yaremchuk to make it 2-0 in a dominant first-half display from Andriy Shevchenko's side in Bucharest.

North Macedonia, beaten by Austria on matchday one, improved after the break and pulled a goal back through Ezgjan Alioski after the Leeds United man saw his penalty saved.

Ruslan Malinovskiy also erred from the spot, meaning as many have been missed at this tournament (four) as in the whole of Euro 2016, but it did not cost Ukraine an important three points in Group C.

Ukraine carried a threat from the off, Stole Dimitrievski saving from Malinovskiy and Yarmolenko, while Stefan Ristovski made a brilliant block on Yaremchuk.

The breakthrough came just before the half-hour mark, Yarmolenko finishing at the far post after Oleksandr Karavaev's inspired flick-on from Malinovskiy's corner.

It was 2-0 five minutes later, Yaremchuk slotting a cool finish past Dimitrievski after a clever first-time pass from Yarmolenko.

Goran Pandev produced a clever chipped finish but the goal was disallowed for offside, as North Macedonia ended the half without a shot on target.

However, they did halve the deficit 11 minutes after the restart, Alioski expertly finishing on the rebound after his penalty had been well saved by Georgi Bushchan.

Viktor Tsygankov studded a great chance wide barely five minutes after coming off the Ukraine bench, and Malinovskiy saw his spot-kick parried by Dimitrievski after a VAR review saw Daniel Avramovski penalised for handball.

North Macedonia applied some late pressure to no avail, with their tournament now looking likely to come to an end after the group stage is concluded.

What does it mean? Ukraine back in contention for knockouts

Ukraine's victory means they are right back in the mix to finish in Group C's top two. If the Netherlands defeat Austria, Shevchenko's men will be guaranteed to finish at least second with a win on matchday three.

North Macedonia, meanwhile, could soon be facing elimination. Should the later game finish in anything other than an Austria win, the European Championship newcomers will be unable to advance to the knockout rounds.

Yarmolenko sparkles

Yarmolenko has now scored in three consecutive Ukraine matches for the first time since October 2016, while their last player to score in consecutive games at a major finals was Shevchenko himself at the 2006 World Cup.

The West Ham forward provided the clinical touches in attack in the first half and showed off with a few tricks, highlighting the calibre of player the Hammers would have if he could now sustain his fitness.

Too little, too late from Angelovski's men

Igor Angelovski made two changes at half-time and it was one of those replacements, Aleksandar Trajkovski, whose stunning attempt led to the penalty after it was tipped onto the crossbar.

Their possessions swung from 36.6 per cent in the first half to 62.5 in the second, the shot count more than doubled to 10 in total, but they were left with too much to do by the time they adopted a bolder approach.

What's next?

Ukraine conclude their group stage against Austria in Bucharest, with North Macedonia facing the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Both games are on June 21.

Andriy Shevchenko has no worries about Ukraine's mentality as they look to end what is a historic European Championship losing streak against North Macedonia on Thursday.

Ukraine will have gained admirers for their spirited performance against Netherlands on Sunday, as they fought back to 2-2 from 2-0 down – before Andriy Yarmolenko's screamer, they had not scored any of their previous 72 shots in the Euros.

Unfortunately for them, they switched off late on and Denzel Dumfries scored the Oranje's winner in a 3-2 victory, but the performance showed Ukraine can cause problems for the traditionally better teams.

But against tournament debutants North Macedonia on Thursday they will have to cope with the pressure of being favourites, a potentially confusing situation for Ukraine given they are just one defeat short of setting a new Euros record for consecutive losses (currently six, level with Yugoslavia).

In fact, those six defeats equate to 86 per cent (6/7) of Ukraine's total Euros matches, which is the worst losing percentage of any nation to play at least five games in the tournament.

But Shevchenko is adamant his players know the gravity of the situation.

"We have complete understanding within the team," he told reporters. "We know the tasks we have ahead of us and additional words aren't necessary. The team is getting ready mentally.

"This is a really important tournament. It's not every year that we get to the group stage of the European Championship, so every player understands the importance of each match and has responsibility for their own game and the game of the team.

"So, we don't need any additional words."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ukraine – Ruslan Malinovskiy

After a stellar season with Atalanta, Malinovskiy came into the Euros with much of Ukraine's creative burden placed on his shoulders. While he was quiet at times against the Netherlands, his three key passes were not bettered by anyone else on the pitch. A good dribbler and generally classy player, North Macedonia would be wise to pay him special attention – though he can still be decisive from set-pieces, as highlighted by his assist for Roman Yaremchuk on Sunday.

 

North Macedonia – Enis Bardhi

While their squad may not be full of instantly recognisable names, in the likes of Goran Pandev, Eljif Elmas and Bardhi, they definitely possess some technical ability. Given they will likely be under pressure again for long periods, the latter's expertise at free-kicks could be particularly dangerous. Since he joined Levante in 2017, only Lionel Messi has scored more goals than Bardhi (six) from such situations.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- North Macedonia's 3-1 defeat to Austria was their first defeat by more than one goal since losing 2-0 to Poland in October 2019. They have not lost consecutive games by two or more goals since a run of three between June and September 2005 (6-1 vs Czech Republic and 3-0 and 5-1 defeats vs Finland).

- All four of Ukraine's goals at the European Championship have been scored in the second half, attempting 37 efforts at goal without success in the first half of matches. They are the only nation to play at least five matches at the Euros and never score in the first half of a game.

- Pandev – who has scored 20 more goals than any other North Macedonian player in history (38) – netted his first international goal on August 21, 2002 against Malta in a friendly, 11 days before Ukrainian centre-half Illia Zabarnyi was born (September 1, 2002).

- Pandev scored his nation's first goal at a major tournament in their first game against Austria. He will become the oldest player to ever score in consecutive matches in the same European Championship tournament – five years older than the current record holder Rui Costa for Portugal at Euro 2004 (32y 87d) – if he nets against Ukraine.

- Only current manager Shevchenko (48) has scored more goals for Ukraine than Yarmolenko (41), with the West Ham winger looking to score in three consecutive matches for his national side for the first time since October 2016.

Marko Arnautovic will miss Austria's Euro 2020 clash with the Netherlands on Thursday after being given a one-match ban for an incident during the win over North Macedonia.

Arnautovic had to be restrained by his captain David Alaba as he celebrated scoring in a 3-1 victory in Austria's Group C opener at the National Arena in Bucharest on Sunday.

The 32-year-old, who is of Serbian descent, was accused of yelling a racist insult at North Macedonia players Egzon Bejtulai and Ezgjan Alioski, who both have Albanian roots.

Arnautovic apologised for his conduct but denied using a racial slur.

The Football Federation of Macedonia submitted an official letter to UEFA demanding the most severe punishment possible following what it described as a "nationalist outburst" towards Ezgjan Alioski, who has Albanian roots.

UEFA launched an investigation and decided to ban the 32-year-old for one game, so he will sit out the encounter with the Oranje at Johan Cruijff ArenA for "insulting another player."

Arnautovic responded, stating that he wants positives to come out of his "bad behaviour".

He said in a statement released by the Austrian Football Association (OFB): "I publicly admitted my misconduct at the goal celebration on my own initiative, even before proceedings were initiated, and apologised for it.

"There have been regrettable statements from both sides, but provocations are no justification for my behaviour either. Immediately after the game there was a debate and mutual apology.

"I grew up with people from different countries and cultures and I stand for diversity very clearly. Everyone who knows me knows that. It is very important to me personally to emphasise that. Together with the OFB, I stand for tolerance and integration in all areas of society.

"Precisely because integration is so important to me through my own history, I would like to use this case as an opportunity and provide €25,000 for my integration project, in which I act as a patron, so that my bad behaviour is also a good consequence for more cohesion.

"Above all, I want to be a good role model for children and young people."

Netherlands boss Frank de Boer said of Arnautovic's suspension: "It's a shame for Austria because he's a good player, I know him from his spell with Twente, so yes he's a good player and they will miss him.

"In that way its an advantage for us. He came in as a substitute [versus North Macedonia] and he made a difference right away."

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