Austria kick off their Euro 2020 campaign in Group C against tournament debutants North Macedonia at the National Arena in Bucharest.
Euro 2020: Group C
Sunday 13 June
National Arena, Bucharest
North Macedonia 52/10
After a disappointing group stage exit in their second European Championship tournament in 2016, Austria will be hoping for a vast improvement this time around.
The Austrians finished second in qualifying Group G to make the tournament. They ended up six points adrift of group winners Poland, but were ahead of North Macedonia, Slovenia, Israel and Latvia. Former Stoke and West Ham forward Marko Arnautovic was their top scorer in qualifying with six goals.
Boasting players such as Arnautovic, RB Leipzig’s highly-rated Marcel Sabitzer and serial winner David Alaba who recently signed for Real Madrid, coach Franco Foda will have high hopes of going far at the Euros.
Making their international competition debut, North Macedonia are huge underdogs – even in arguably the easiest group of the tournament.
Igor Angelovski’s men finished third in qualifying Group G behind Poland and Austria, but were able to advance to the showpiece event via the play-offs thanks to their UEFA Nations League performance. The Red Lynx beat Kosovo (2-1) and Georgia (1-0) to secure their spot.
North Macedonia may be the weakest team in the tournament on paper, but they are not to be taken lightly, and their 2-1 victory against Germany in their World Cup qualifiers proved that.
There aren’t great things expected of the Balkan outfit, which could perhaps work in their favour, but a respectable display at the Euros could boost their footballing profile.
Prediction: Austria (6/10)
Having already beaten North Macedonia home and away in qualifying, Austria will fancy their chances against the lowest-ranked side in the tournament.