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."

UEFA is to investigate an incident involving Marko Arnautovic as the Austria forward celebrated after scoring against North Macedonia at Euro 2020.

Arnautovic grabbed his team's final goal in the closing minutes of a 3-1 triumph in Bucharest after coming on as a substitute during Sunday's Group C clash.

Media reports said the 32-year-old directed comments at opposing players in the aftermath, with Austria captain David Alaba seemingly attempting to calm his compatriot down.

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.

Arnautovic, who is of Serbian descent, issued a statement via social media on Monday to apologise for "some heated words".

Serbia does not recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo, while there is historic tension between Serbia and North Macedonia.

"There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to apologise - especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania," Arnautovic posted on Instagram.

"I would like to say one thing very clearly: I am not a racist. I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity. Everyone who knows me is aware of that."

UEFA said on Tuesday: "In accordance with the article 31(4) of the UEFA disciplinary regulations, an ethics and disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct an investigation regarding the incident involving the player Marko Arnautovic that occurred during the 2020 European Championship group-stage match between the national teams of Austria and North Macedonia on 13 June 2021."

Austria are next in action on Thursday, taking on the Netherlands - who defeated Ukraine 3-2 in their opening fixture - in Amsterdam.

Marko Arnautovic has apologised for his heated celebration after scoring in Austria's win against North Macedonia but has denied using a racist slur.

The 32-year-old was brought on at half-time in Sunday's Group C clash and rounded off the scoring in his side's 3-1 victory at the National Arena in Bucharest.

Arnautovic, who is of Serbian descent, appeared angry as he celebrated and had to be calmed down by captain David Alaba.

He was accused of yelling an alleged racist insult at North Macedonia players Egzon Bejtulai and Ezgjan Alioski, who both have Albanian roots.

Serbia does not recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo, and there is historic tension between Serbia and North Macedonia.

However, former Stoke City and West Ham man Arnautovic took to social media on Monday to deny allegations that he is racist.

"There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to apologise - especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania," he posted on Instagram.

"I would like to say one thing very clearly: I am not a racist. I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity. Everyone who knows me is aware of that."

Austria's next Group C outing is against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Thursday.

David Alaba was pleased with the character shown by Austria after they produced a strong second-half display to beat North Macedonia - but promised it was just the start for them at Euro 2020.

Late goals from substitutes Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic secured a 3-1 result against North Macedonia in Bucharest, Austria's first win at a European Championships.

Indeed, they had not triumphed at a major tournament since the 1990 World Cup, a barren run that appeared set to continue when Goran Pandev capitalised on a loose ball to cancel out Stefan Lainer's volleyed opener in the Group C contest.

Yet Austria dominated for long spells after the break and eventually found a way through, Alaba providing an inviting cross for Gregoritsch to put Austria back ahead.

"We achieved our first goal with these three points, we wanted to get this victory, but we have to stay calm and focus on our next match," Alaba told the media.

"We are not happy just with the three points. This was our first goal we wanted to achieve, now we want to continue. Of course we want to impose our game and continue to collect points, that's our target.

"This shows our character and personality, we want to continue on this path."

He added: "At half-time, we said to each other that we had to play faster, that we wanted to control the match.

"In the second half, we had some spells where we really put the foot down, where we lost the ball and directly tried to get it back. That is what we talked about at half-time, that we wanted the three points.

"You could see how hungry and willing we were. We wanted to show our character, our team spirit on the pitch – I think we managed to do that."

Alaba surprisingly lined up at the heart of a back three, though popped up on the left flank to provide the assist for Gregoritsch's crucial goal.

Austria's captain - who has ended his long association with Bayern Munich by joining Real Madrid on a free transfer - completed 93 of his 99 attempted passes in the game, a new record for his country in a European Championship fixture.

Head coach Franco Foda was delighted with Alaba's impact on proceedings, though made clear the system could change when they go up against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Thursday.

"He played in this position for Bayern a lot, we just switched to a back three. At Bayern he also played that way, so that's no problem for him," Foda said.

"In the second half, he helped us and supported us in attack, especially on the left. This was his duty and I'm very happy with his 90 minutes.

"He organised our defensive work well, talked a lot with his team-mates and this is important. In the second half, he helped us in terms of attacking."

Arnautovic did not start having gone into the tournament recovering from an injury, though he made an impact off the bench by scoring Austria's third goal in the 89th minute.

On his compatriot, Alaba said: "We players always want to play, but we can see what character he has. He came on and gave 100 per cent straight away. He's a very important player for us, both on and off the pitch. We know what he means to us."

Austria finally registered a first European Championship win at the seventh attempt as they ruined North Macedonia's first outing at a major tournament with a 3-1 triumph in Bucharest.

Substitutes Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic both scored in the final 12 minutes to make sure Franco Foda's side claimed all three points from the Group C tussle.

After fellow debutants Finland recorded a 1-0 triumph over Denmark on Saturday, North Macedonia had appeared on course to mark their maiden appearance with a point against opponents who beat them twice in qualifying.

Having struck in the second leg to see off Georgia in the play-offs and secure a spot at Euro 2020, Goran Pandev became the second oldest scorer in the competition's history when he capitalised on an unexpected opportunity to tap in an equaliser.

Goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann failed to hold on when sliding out to grab the ball ahead of Aleksandar Trajkovski, a three-way collision also involving David Alaba allowing the ever-alert Pandev to convert into an unguarded net with his team's first attempt.

Austria had opened the scoring with an eye-catching goal, Marcel Sabitzer's raking pass finding the advancing Stefan Lainer, who showed impressive attacking instincts for a defender with a side-footed volley from a tight angle that flashed beyond Stole Dimitrievski.

There was not so much to admire about the build-up play and finish for North Macedonia's equaliser, not that they cared too much.

Arnautovic was summoned from the bench early in the second half to try and inspire Austria, though it was fellow replacement Gregoritsch who scored the game's crucial third goal, the Augsburg forward making a near-post run to apply the finishing touch to Alaba's inviting cross from the left flank. 
 
Any hope of a tiring North Macedonia rallying for a second time disappeared when Arnautovic went clean through in the 89th minute, calmly rounding Dimitrievski to wrap up the victory. 

What's next?

Both teams are back in action on Thursday. North Macedonia will be remaining in Bucharest for their second fixture, against Ukraine. Austria, meanwhile, move on to Amsterdam to take on the Netherlands.

Austria boss Franco Foda has a selection dilemma in Bucharest as he bids to deliver the country's first ever win at the European Championship.

No team have played more games at the Euros without earning at least one win than Austria, who have fallen short in all six of their past finals fixtures.

The Group C clash with North Macedonia on Sunday is one in which many expect Austria to prevail, but Foda must decide whether Marko Arnautovic, the team's star forward, starts the match.

Arnautovic has indicated he feels ready for a pivotal role after recovering from a thigh injury, but there is no certainty the 32-year-old will play from the start.

The former West Ham man, now with Shanghai Port, played half an hour for Austria in a friendly against Slovakia last Sunday but Foda may prefer a match-fit Sasa Kalajdzic to lead his attack.

Foda said in a pre-game news conference: "Ultimately, I have to make the decision about whether Marko is ready for 90 minutes or not."

A fit and firing Arnautovic's value to his country is obvious, having been directly involved in seven goals in his eight appearances during the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign (six goals, one assist).

Foda also kept North Macedonia guessing about where David Alaba will feature, the erstwhile Bayern Munich star and new Real Madrid recruit being a top performer both in defence and midfield.

"We have decided where he will play," Foda said, but gave no detail about that decision.

The Austria coach added: "We can make history, and we want to. We absolutely want to win and start the European Championship with a positive result. I have a good feeling."

North Macedonia are making their big-tournament debut as an independent nation and proud captain Goran Pandev said: "Believe that we are ready and we will do our best to make the public and the Macedonian people happy again."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Austria - Marcel Sabitzer

Sabitzer is coming off a strong season in the German Bundesliga with RB Leipzig and has been linked with clubs including Roma and Arsenal. Austria have plenty of decent pedigree in their squad, but the man who scored eight goals and had three assists on league duty for his club side last term, creating 30 chances in all, is one of a handful with real star quality.

 

North Macedonia - Goran Pandev

At the age of 37, Pandev leads his country on the big stage, and what a moment it will be for him. A star forward in Serie A for over 15 years, notably with Lazio, Inter, Napoli and Genoa, Pandev may be past his prime but he will hope to lead by example at this tournament.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- These teams have only played each other twice before – both times in qualifying for this tournament – with Austria winning those matches 4-1 and 2-1.

- Including the play-off rounds, North Macedonia won each of their final three games in Euro 2020 qualifying – as many as they had won in their previous nine games of the qualifying campaign beforehand (D2 L4).

- Austria have yet to reach the knockout stages or even win a single game at the European Championships (D2 L4).

- Austria have won only one of their last 15 games at major tournaments (D5 L9 – World Cups and Euros), a 2-1 victory against United States in the group phase of the 1990 World Cup. They last reached the knockout stages of a major tournament at the 1954 World Cup, finishing third.

- Austria have scored only two goals in their six games at the European Championship finals; one of them was a penalty (Ivica Vastic vs Poland, Euro 2008). They have never been ahead at any point in those six games.

- North Macedonia's 1.25 goals scored per game during Euro 2020 qualifiers (15 in 12 games) was the joint-lowest average of any team to have qualified for the finals, alongside Wales.

An emotional Igor Angelovski suggested a sensational win over Germany was comparable to European Championship success for his North Macedonia side.

In the biggest shock of the World Cup qualifying campaign so far, North Macedonia claimed a remarkable 2-1 victory in Duisberg on Wednesday.

North Macedonia are set to make their major tournament debut as an independent nation at Euro 2020 and have now also improbably boosted their Qatar 2022 hopes, sitting above Germany in Group J, three points behind early leaders Armenia.

Angelovski's men had just 30.5 per cent of possession against the 2014 World Cup winners but were clinical when their chances came.

Veteran forward Goran Pandev and midfielder Eljif Elmas scored as North Macedonia registered six goal attempts, of which three were on target.

Germany had 11 efforts but only twice found their aim, as Timo Werner incredibly missed from point-blank range after Ilkay Gundogan's penalty had pulled the hosts back level.

For triumphant head coach Angelovski, the victory was particularly precious as he reflected on a difficult time in his personal life.

"What can I tell you? I can't, out of emotion, out of happiness," he said. "We made the North Macedonians proud and happy. This is like winning the European Championship.

"I came here with these guys because they promised to celebrate. My wife was in the hospital, she had COVID-19 symptoms, luckily she's better now.

"The kids were giving me support. Thank you all. What more can I say? Just to cry."

Unsurprisingly, 37-year-old record goalscorer Pandev - once a Champions League winner with Inter - was picked out for special praise.

He scored with his only shot from his sole touch inside the Germany box but crucially provided an outlet, his average position the furthest forward of any North Macedonia player.

"Pandev is an amazing man, the leader of this team," Angelovski said. "They fought like lions to write the history of their state; I'm proud of these guys."

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