Euro 2020 Diary Day 3 – A Dutch of Class

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After a harrowing day two, it felt good to get to day three knowing Christian Eriksen was still with us and we could all get back to the game we love. Right, let’s go call someone a Willy. 

To Wembley to start the day and I’m sure we were all excited for England vs Borna Barisic! 

What do you mean he’s not playing? He’s not in the squad? Still not fit? Oh, well that’s disappointing. 

The disappointment of not seeing Borna strut his stuff against the English at Wembley set the tone for this one. England started fairly well and then nothing really happened for about 25 minutes. 

Back in the BBC studio at half time, Linekar, Shearer and Lampard all talked about how impressive England were. What, for about 10 minutes? This was a poor game where Croatia offered nothing and England slogged to get past them. 

Never mind the big teams that will be looking to win this tournament, on this display Scotland should be encouraged with their chances of getting something next Friday. Well, let’s wait and see how tomorrow goes. 

On to what was a much better game with Austria vs North Macedonia. Both teams looking for their first ever win at the Euros. This was North Macedonia’s first appearance whereas Austria had been here a couple of times and just been quite pish. 

Apparently there wasn’t much hope within Austria itself as their German head coach,  Franco Foda, is quite unpopular for being too conservative and cautious. Austrians being famous for liking their German’s to lead on the front foot. That’s my one Austrians are Nazis joke, for this one anyway. 

Austria did treat us to the best goal in the competition so far when Stefan Lanier got on the end of a fantastic cross from Marcel Sabitzer to guide the ball past the ‘keeper and into the far corner. 

You would expect plucky North Macedonia to become far less plucky after that but to their credit they fought back and had a lovely moment when the oldest man in the country equalised and scored their first ever goal at a major tournament.

Listen, I fully believe that Goran Pandev is 37 years old, I just don’t believe he’s ever been any younger than that. 

The dream wasn’t to last for the Macedonians as Austria’s superior quality got them over the line. Another fantastic cross, this time from captain David Alba, was finished by Michael Gregoritsch and then Marko Arnautovic made the points safe in the 90th minute. 

The only negative of this one was when we heard the sentence: “Joining us on co-commentary, John Hartson”. I know I’m stating the obvious here, but whenever Hartson has to travel for business there is a village in Wales missing their idiot. 

We were saved the best until last in Amsterdam when the Netherlands took on Ukraine in the final game of the day. A lovely little bonus with this one being brought to us by Clive and Ally, staunch. 

This was a cracking game, two teams just going for it. The first half was as good a 0-0 as you can get, great saves, great misses and poised nicely for the second half that topped the lot. 

It looked as if the Dutch had turned the screw and were going to run away with it quite comfortably in the end. The Ukrainian goalie, Georgiy Bushchan, had a great first half but he won’t want to watch the second period back any time soon. Buschan came out to stop a cross but presented the ball to Georginio Wijnaldum who produced a cool finish to put his side one up. 

It looked all over when Wout Weghorst smashed in a second and Ukraine were dead on their feet. That was until Andriy Yarmolenko unleashed a worldie from nowhere to drag Ukraine back into the game. 

Four minutes later, the game was level. The Netherland’s switched off at a free kick and Roman Yaremchuk produced a fantastic header to make it 2-2. Unreal!

It still looked like there was going to be a winner in this one and as it turned out, it would come for the Dutch. Another header this time by Denzel Dumfries to settle this one once and for all. Buschan again not covering himself in glory.

A stunning, frantic and at times disorganised game but it now feels like this tournament has truly begun. 

There’s nothing that could dull my enthusiasm for it right now…oh yeah, Scotland are playing tomorrow. 

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