The Netherlands are back in tournament football with a bang, securing a thrilling 3-2 win over Ukraine in the best match of Euro 2020 so far.
The Dutch missed the 2018 World Cup and the 2016 Euros but managed to become the latest historical heavyweight to notch a first-up win by seeing off a spirited Ukraine outfit.
Both sides came to play attacking football, in an open and entertaining affair that was largely dominated by Frank de Boer’s side.
They found the opener through inspirational captain Georginio Wijnaldum after the break, before Wout Weghorst made it a two-goal lead in the 58th minute.
Just when it looked as though the Dutch were going to run away with it, Ukraine surged, with Andrii Yarmolenko scoring the goal of the tournament thus far, curling it into the far corner from outside the box.
The momentum had shifted and it was soon, remarkably, 2-2 when Ruslan Malinovskyi whipped in a perfect free kick from the left for Roman Yaremchuk to head home.
The match was now anyone’s, but Denzel Dumfries, among the best on the pitch all game, seized the moment and scored the winner for the Netherlands with five minutes of normal time to go.
The Dutch join Italy, Belgium and England as big-name winners in the opening round of matches.
Austria goalscorers pay tribute to Christian Eriksen in win over North Macedonia
Two late goals ensured Austria denied North Macedonia a fairytale maiden victory in its first appearance at a major tournament in a frantic Euro 2020 clash in Bucharest.
In an even, entertaining match, substitutes Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic gave Austria a 3-1 victory over in the opening match of Group C on Monday (AEST).
Gregoritsch prodded home David Alaba’s cross in the 78th minute before Arnautovic struck in the 89th, as Austria earned a first win at the Euros at their seventh attempt and their first victory at a major tournament since the 1990 World Cup.
Stefan Lainer put Austria ahead with an acrobatic effort in the 18th minute when he latched on to Marcel Sabitzer’s cross-field pass at the back post, leaping into the air to beat keeper Stole Dimitrievski from a tight angle.
Both Lainer and Gregoritsch held up a tee-shirt after scoring which said: “Eriksen stay strong”.
The supporters of both teams applauded before the game when the giant screen above the field displayed the message “Best Wishes Christian.”
Eriksen collapsed on the field while playing for Denmark on Saturday. He is still in the hospital in Copenhagen but in stable condition.
Evergreen North Macedonia captain Goran Pandev, aged 37, equalised 10 minutes later to bag his team’s first-ever goal at a major tournament.
The Genoa veteran capitalised on a mix-up in the Austrian defence to slide the ball home.
However, despite increasingly frantic efforts, it was not to be for the tournament’s lowest-ranked team.
Austria resume their campaign against Netherlands in Amsterdam on Thursday, while North Macedonia stay in Bucharest to face Ukraine.