Sports

June 25, 2024

Austria beat Netherlands 3-2 to win Euro 2024 Group D

Austria beat Netherlands 3-2 to win Euro 2024 Group D

Austria’s players acknowledge their fans at the end of the UEFA Euro 2024 Group D football match between the Netherlands and Austria at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on June 25, 2024. (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP)

Marcel Sabitzer lashed home to earn Austria a thrilling 3-2 win against the Netherlands on Tuesday and send his team through top of Euro 2024 Group D, ahead of tournament favourites France and the third-place Dutch.

All three nations are through to the last 16 but Ralf Rangnick’s intense Austria side showed why some consider them dark horses to win the tournament for the first time on a rollicking afternoon in Berlin.

Donyell Malen’s own goal sent Austria ahead but Cody Gakpo pulled the Dutch level early in the second half.

Romano Schmid headed home for Austria with Memphis Depay pegging them back once more, before Sabitzer settled the frantic, end-to-end tussle.

Rangnick made four changes for Austria from the side that effectively knocked out Poland, with defender Gernot Trauner, who scored in that victory, injured, while Christoph Baumgartner also netted and was left on the bench.

Meanwhile Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman selected Malen in attack as one of three changes from the goalless draw against France last week.

The Borussia Dortmund forward got off to an unfortunate start though when he slid in to deflect Alexander Prass’ cross into his own net, as he tried to stop it reaching the lurking Marko Arnautovic.

Dutch midfielder Tijjani Reijnders had a fine chance to swiftly equalise, scuffing his shot badly wide after a neat exchange with Gakpo.

Netherlands supporters have lit up the tournament with their vibrant orange glow but Austria fans outnumbered and outsung them in Berlin.

As Rangnick’s men fizzed the ball around their struggling Dutch counterparts, supporters gleefully cheered each successful pass.

Koeman seethed on the touchline and flung his arms down in frustration as Malen sent a bobbling shot beyond the far post when well placed.

– Frantic –

The former Barcelona coach brought on Xavi Simons after only 34 minutes for midfielder Joey Veerman to add more spark and creativity to his team’s disjointed display.

However it was Austria who carved out the next big chance, with Bart Verbruggen saving Sabitzer’s drive and Arnautovic unable to get his footwork right to turn home from close range moments later as his team kept the move alive.

Netherlands came out for the second half fired up and pulled level as soon as the 47th minute when Simons fed Gakpo, who sent an assured curling finish beyond Austria goalkeeper Patrick Pentz.

Austria kept their heads and Schmid nodded them back in front after 59 minutes from Florian Grillitsch’s cross, with Stefan de Vrij unable to hack the ball clear on the line.

The goal sucked the life out of the Netherlands, who turned to their super sub against Poland and at the 2022 World Cup against Argentina, burly hitman Wout Weghorst, to put their plan B into action.

It worked almost immediately, with the striker nodding down for Depay to smash home and pull the game level.

Austria struck back yet again to move ahead for the third time when Sabitzer superbly rifled home at the near post, after Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk played him onside.

Substitute Baumgartner produced a fine finish for what would have been Austria’s fourth but was offside, and Weghorst headed over a final chance for the downcast Dutch.

Vanguard News