- Groups B and C both conclude on Monday evening
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Frank de Boer is wary of urban foxes, which is why he’s taking nothing for granted against North Macedonia and will put out a strong Netherlands team:
North Macedonia really deserve to be here. They have done very well, they are well organised. And then you have this sly fox [Goran] Pandev who really makes the difference. It’s great to see he still enjoys playing and can be important for his country. We can’t underestimate them so I’m not going to alter much.
Italy have been mighty impressive haven’t they? The structure, the pressing, their ruthlessness when given a sniff of goal. And imagine being as good as they were in the first two games and then being able to bring Marco Veratti back into your midfield! Barney Ronay kept a close eye on the returning PSG midfielder in the 1-0 win over Wales yesterday.
Then there was Marco Verratti, one of the more understated velvet-touch world-class footballers around, who dominated this game by stealth as he so often does … He is an odd Italy player, a one-time prodigy, darling of the academies, who has spent almost all of his mature career in Paris. Aged 28 now, and straight back into the groove in Rome, he provides another, deeper gear in this system.
Related: Velvety Verratti adds a sprinkling of magic to make Italy the team to fear | Barney Ronay