The Netherlands edged a 3-2 thriller with Ukraine in the pick of the Euro 2020 matches to date, while England and Austria also got off the mark in their opening group games on Sunday.
Denzel Dumfries was the late hero for the Oranje with his first international goal to sink Ukraine, who had battled back from two goals down in Amsterdam to temporarily level things.
Austria also left it late to see off minnows North Macedonia 3-1 in Bucharest earlier in the day and England beat Croatia 1-0 at Wembley through a well-taken Raheem Sterling strike.
Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks at some of the best facts from across Sunday’s entertaining action at Euro 2020.
What a moment for Denzel Dumfries!
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 13, 2021
England 1-0 Croatia: Three Lions make winning start at Wembley
Sterling’s first goal at a major international tournament in his 13th appearance was enough for England to overcome Croatia in a repeat of the 2018 World Cup semi-final.
Croatia offered very little in response as England made it 11 straight victories in games in which Sterling has scored – the best-such win rate of any player in the nation’s history.
The Three Lions are now unbeaten in 12 games at Wembley in major tournaments (exluding penalty shoot-outs), winning eight and drawing four of those matches.
The victory for Gareth Southgate’s side in their Group D opener was their seventh in a row in all competitions – their best such run since March 2015 under Roy Hodgson.
It was also the first time England have won their opening game at a European Championship finals in their 10th participation in the tournament.
That is in contrast to Croatia, who lost their first match in the competition for the first time, having won four and drawn one of the previous five.
The contest was also a special occasion for England substitute Jude Bellingham, who at 17 years and 349 days became the youngest ever player to feature at the Euros.
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) June 13, 2021
Austria 3-1 North Macedonia: Substitutes strike late to deny tournament debutants
North Macedonia’s first ever game at a major tournament ended with a late defeat to Austria in Bucharest.
Aged 37 years and 321 days, 120-cap Goran Pandev became the second-oldest goalscorer in the competition when cancelling out Stefan Lainer’s opener.
That was just Lainer’s second goal for Austria, with his only other international strike coming against North Macedonia in qualifying.
Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic were introduced to snatch the three points for Austria – their first ever win at the European Championships in what was their seventh game.
In doing so, Gregoritsch and Arnautovic became the first pair to score from the bench for the same country in the competition since Michy Batshuayi and Yannick Carrasco for Belgium (v Hungary) in 2016.
Arnautovic’s goal to make certain of the win was his 27th for Austria at senior level, with three of those coming against North Macedonia – more than he has managed against any other country.
2528 – Georginio Wijnaldum scores the first Netherlands’ goal at a World Cup / European Championship in 2528 days, when Wijnaldum himself scored at the World Cup 2014. Leader. #NED #EURO2020 #NEDUKR pic.twitter.com/tSaAxbE4dM
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 13, 2021
Netherlands 3-2 Ukraine: Oranje leave it late to edge thriller
The Netherlands ended a run of four straight defeats at the European Championship with a dramatic victory against Ukraine in Amsterdam.
All five goals were scored in the second half, making it the highest-scoring fixture in the competition’s history after a goalless first half.
The first half may have ended scoreless, but the tempo was set early on as there were nine shots in the opening 10 minutes – a tournament record since Opta started recording such data in 1980.
Georginio Wijnaldum opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with his 15th goal in 26 appearances for Oranje, having scored only eight times in his first 50 games for his national side.
Wout Weghorst added a second soon after, but Andriy Yarmolenko pulled one back with a sublime strike to end a run of 72 shots without a goal for Ukraine at the Euros.
From the visitors’ very next attempt, Roman Yaremchuk headed in an equaliser to seemingly steal a point at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
But Dumfries found the back of the net in the 85th minute, making it the latest game-winning goal for the Netherlands at the Euros since current boss Frank de Boer scored an 89th-minute penalty against Czech Republic at Euro 2000.
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