Group B and Group C campaigners in the 16th European Championship played out their third set of games on Monday.
Belgium and Holland cruised into the last 16 of Euro 2020 with their 100 per cent records intact while Denmark brushed aside Russia to also seal their place on an emotional night in Copenhagen.
Baumgartner solitary strike in the first half clinched Austria’s last-16 spot at National Arena Bucharest – Bucharest.
Finland 0 – 2 Belgium
Russia 1 – 4 Denmark
North Macedonia 0 – 3 Netherlands
Ukraine 0 – 1 Austria
Belgium ease into last 16 with a perfect 3 game win record
Romelu Lukaku was on target again for the Belgians and an own goal from Finland goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky saw the top rank side cruise into the last 16 of the European Championship with a perfect record from Group B after a 2-0 win in St Petersburg.
Finland aimed at victory for a second place in Group B but that could materialize after a defeat to Belgium.
The Finns fought an increasingly desperate for a win or a point to prove enough to seal qualification but were ultimately left to almost certainly exit the tournament.
Denmark storm into last 16 against all odds
A raucous crowd at Parken Stadium, Copenhagen rallied behind the home side to see them pick vital 4 – 1 victory over Russia.
An emotional Denmark side clinched the second place in Group B after a devastating display of attacking football in Copenhagen.
Denmark’s campaign has been entirely overshadowed by Christain Eriksen’s shocking cardiac arrest during their opening game against Finland.
The Danes took opened scoring some 7minutes to break through a stunning Mikkel Damsgaard strike and Yussuf Poulsen doubled the advantage just before the hour mark as he punished a mistake by Roman Zobnin.
Russia seemed to have gained rythm to pull one back but strikes from Andreas Christensen in the 79th minute and Joakim Maehle three minutes ripping apart a shellshocked Russian side.
Russia needed a win to sail through but it was a fairy tale as bottom placed and stricken Denmark side rose against all odds to secure last 16 berth. The Danes indeed have a reason to celebrate Euro 2020.
Denmark will face Wales in the Euro 2020 last 16 after the superb 4-1 victory over Russia.
Netherlands see off North Macedonia 3-0 to complete clean sweep
The Netherlands already sealed last 16 berth but a win against North Macedonia saw the Oranje lead Group C summit with a perfect 9 points, winning all three group match-up.
Netherlands also beat Ukraine and Austria in their Euro 2020 campaign.
Having qualified for the 16th European Championship, the odds were always against the ambitious debutants, North Macedonians to progress to last 16 and this really came up as they exited the competition with a 3-0 loss to Netherlands.
North Macedonian legend Goran Pandev bowed out after 122 international appearances for his country and sadly his final game did not come with a win.
Austria advance to knockout phase with win over Ukraine in final group game
Ukraine and Austria headed into their final group match up with three points each after both nations picked wins in their opening games.
Austria were third placed after their second Group C game and needed a victory to keep their qualification hopes alive.
Ukraine on the other hand just needed a point to sail through but after a tussle with Austria, The Boys qualified for the knock out phase of the Euros for the first time.
One chance taken was enough to secure them automatic qualification into knock out phase.
It was just a matter of time but the Austrian made it count in the first half after Christoph Baumgartner’s solitary goal that earned them a second place in Group C and a first EURO knockout tilt, leaving Ukraine on wait to see if they will be able to finish as one of the best third-placed teams.
Group B Standings after game 3
Group C Standings after game 3
Group D: Scotland out to make history ( Croatia vs Scotland Hampden Park Glasgow 7PM)
After picking a point against rivals England, Scotland head into Tuesday’s crunch Group D clash with Croatia knowing victory will secure them a last 16 spot.
Croatia struggled against England, Czech Republic and will be dumped out of the competition if they fail to beat Scotland.
It is a very difficult game to call but one that Scotland will feel they can win if they turn up and perform.
Group D : Czech Republic vs England ( Wembley Stadium, London 7PM)
England face Group D leaders Czech Republic at Wembley – with both teams close to last 16 berth.
England and Czech Republic are already into knock out stage but they are looking for the chance to finish top of the pool.
England picked maximum points against Croatia while earning a point in Scotland stalemate to place second behind Czech Republic in Group D.
The Czechs are also in a confident mood having topped Group D with four points.
England saw their preparations for Tuesday’s games disrupted after Scot Billy Gilmour tested positive for Covid-19, with England’s Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell isolating after interaction with their Chelsea team-mate.
The squad have returned a negative COVID test ahead of this clash.
A draw at Wembley would make sure of a top-two finish for both teams, but win for any of them will lead to a critical consideration of results from Scotland and Croatia.
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Mark F. | SilverFM