Austria 3-2 Netherlands (Jun 25, 2024) Game Analysis – ESPN

Austria’s aggressive and hard-running approach propelled them into the round of 16 of the European Championship on Tuesday as a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Netherlands saw them not only progress but also snatch first place in Group D.

The Dutch also advanced as one of the four best third-place finishers despite giving away an early own goal, putting on a pedestrian first-half performance and losing to a sucker punch as Marcel Sabitzer struck for Austria 10 minutes from time.

With France held to a 1-1 draw by Poland in the group’s other game in Dortmund, Austria topped the table with six points, one ahead of second-placed France on five and the Dutch on four points.

Austria sped into a shock lead at the Olympiastadion when Donyell Malen turned the ball into his own net six minutes into the contest but Cody Gakpo equalised soon after the break.

Romano Schmid put Austria ahead again just before the hour in a see-saw second half, with Memphis Depay equalising in the 75th.

It was left to Sabitzer to cap a determined showing from Ralf Rangnick’s side and see them emerge as surprise winners of the group, whose final placings were up in the air as positions in the standings changed several times over the 90 minutes.

Marcel Sabitzer’s late winner propelled Austria to top spot in Group D.

RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images


They will next meet the Group F runners-up, which will be decided on Wednesday, while France and the Netherlands also wait to find out the identity of their last-16 opponents.

“When you win like that, win the group, score the winning goal, it doesn’t get any better than that. You can see that we rotate through the team and nothing is missed, everyone knows their position and what they have to do,” said Sabitzer.

Malen’s misfortune came as he made his first start at the tournament in Germany, sliding in to try and intercept a cross from the left by Alexander Prass but hitting it with such force that the ball bulleted past his own goalkeeper, Bart Verbruggen.

Malen should have made up for his misfortune in the 23rd minute but shanked his effort wide, miscuing a perfect pass that split the Austria defence and put him through with just keeper Patrick Pentz to beat.

Before that, there was a 14th-minute opportunity for Tijjani Reijnders to level the score but his effort was also woefully off target after Gakpo had set him up.

Dutch concern over losing key midfield duels and regular turnover of possession saw Joey Veerman taken off, with Xavi Simons brought on in his place, with 10 minutes left of the first half.

Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman had been jumping up and down off his bench with increasing irritation as Austria’s aggressive pressing forced multiple errors out of his team.

Austria could have been 2-0 up before the break as they caused the Dutch no end of problems. Verbruggen made a sharp save to stop Marcel Sabitzer’s stinging effort and then got a touch to deny Marko Arnautovic a chance in front of goal.

With Koeman’s fury likely still ringing in their ears from the half-time break, the Dutch swarmed forward after the second period kicked off with Simons driving the ball through the middle and passing off to Gakpo.

Gakpo’s marker Philipp Lienhart gave him too much space and the attacker needed no second invitation, curling the ball into the net with aplomb.

But just as they were gaining the upper hand, the Dutch were stung again in the 59th minute with Florian Grillitsch’s pull back from the byline setting up a header for the diminutive Schmid, whose effort was going goalwards but was helped into the other corner of the net by Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij.

Pinch hitter Wout Weghorst made an immediate impact after coming on for Malen in the 72nd minute, with his header setting up a close-range chance for Depay.

Referee Ivan Kruzliak from Slovakia initially ruled the goal out, claiming Depay had handled, but VAR showed this was not the case and it was awarded after a two-minute check.

Parity lasted but five minutes, however, before Sabitzer restored Austria’s advantage, setting up the goal with a burst through the middle and then timing his run perfectly to receive a return pass and score from a tight angle.

“If you beat the Netherlands and win the group, then you can’t be that bad. For us, the most important thing was to advance, and we managed that. Now we need to calm down, clear our heads and then keep attacking,” added Sabitzer.

“A very bad match, in all respects,” said Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk. “We started weakly in possession and in duels. Then you are behind the times. It was a bad evening.”

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