Austria kicked off their Euro 2020 campaign with a 3-1 win against North Macedonia on Sunday evening.
The match was held at Arena Națională in Bucharest, Romania.
Austria took the lead in the 18th minute when Stefan Lainer found the back of the net. Goran Pandev restored parity for North Macedonia on 28 minutes when the 37-year-old Genoa forward took advantage of a defensive mix-up.
However, the Austrians came back strongly and scored twice thereafter to pick up all three points from the encounter.
Michael Gregoritsch turned in Austria captain David Alaba’s sublime cross in the 78th minute. Then on 89 minutes, former West Ham United forward Marko Arnautovic scored after rounding goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski.
The result means that Austria are now at the top of Group C, ahead of the Netherlands on goal difference.
This is what we learned from Austria’s win against North Macedonia:
Austria can make an impact
The Netherlands are the clear favourites in Group C, but Austria showed on Sunday that they can upset the odds. True, North Macedonia made it tricky for them and they had to rely on individual brilliance in the final minutes, but the way Austria did not give up and kept on pushing shows that they are not going anywhere. Don’t be surprised if Austria end up winning the group and then progressing further in the competition.Betfair has them at 15/8 to reach the quarter-finals.
David Alaba is world class
David Alaba is a world-class player, and the Austria international showed that on Sunday. The 28-year-old, who can operate in a number of positions, has recently joined Real Madrid, and he demonstrated to the Spanish giants what they are going to get. Alaba was part of a back-three for Austria, but the way he gave the cross underlines his importance in attack as well.
Goran Pandev is evergreen
Goran Pandev is 37, but the former Inter Milan striker is still going strong as ever. It must have felt really good for the forward to score for North Macedonia. The Genoa forward scored seven goals and gave three assists in 15 Serie A starts this past season. The veteran forward will be a big player for his country at Euro 2020.