Sunday, July 14, 2024

Euro 2024 – Netherlands 2-3 Austria: Ralf Rangnick's side deservedly edge five-goal thriller to win Group D – Sky Sports


Netherlands vs Austria. European Championships Group D.

Olympiastadion BerlinAttendance68,363.

Report from Euro 2024 as Austria beat the Netherlands to qualify for the last 16 as Group D winners; Marcel Sabitzer and Romano Schmid score for Austria after Donyell Malen’s own goal; Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay on target for the Netherlands, who finish third behind runners-up France
Football Journalist
Wednesday 26 June 2024 10:32, UK
Austria deservedly edged a five-goal thriller against the Netherlands to qualify for the last 16 of Euro 2024 as Group D winners.
Ralf Rangnick’s well-organised and impressive side were twice pegged back in an entertaining contest in Berlin but Marcel Sabitzer had the final say 10 minutes from time.
A Donyell Malen own goal gave Austria an early lead with Romano Schmid putting them back in front after a Cody Gakpo leveller.
Memphis Depay scored the Netherlands’ second equaliser but it was not enough as Austria ended up leapfrogging both them and runners-up France, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Poland in Dortmund.
Both nations knew progression to the last 16 was all but confirmed heading into their final Group D fixture. The Netherlands’ spot in the next round was already guaranteed – at least as one of the best third-placed teams – while Austria knew even a defeat would see them qualify in third unless they lost by a five-goal margin.
But with the top two positions in the group still up for grabs, both sides wanted to finish with a victory and it was Austria who looked set to do just that when Malen diverted Alexander Prass’ dangerous cross into his own net in the 6th minute.
Rangnick’s side continued to impress both in and out of possession but the Netherlands responded well and should have equalised midway through the first half, only for Malen to drag a shot wide when played through by Tijjani Reijnders, who had earlier missed the target himself.
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Austria remained dangerous and almost doubled their advantage late in the half, but Netherlands goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen kept out Sabitzer’s long-range drive before Marko Arnautovic failed to make contact with the ball from a few yards out after Florian Grillitsch’s effort was deflected into his path.
The Austrians deservedly led at half-time but the Netherlands hit back immediately after the break. Lutsharel Geertruida’s excellent tackle gave first-half substitute Xavi Simons the chance to drive forward and his final pass was rounded off emphatically by Liverpool forward Gakpo (47).
The Dutch had finally gained some momentum but they weren’t level for long. Their equaliser did not faze Austria and they retook the lead through Schmid, who headed in Grillitsch’s pinpoint cross via a Stefan de Vrij deflection (59).
Depay thought he had brought the Netherlands level again when he controlled and volleyed in substitute Wout Weghorst’s knock-down in the 75th minute, only for the goal to be immediately ruled out for handball. However, replays showed that was not the case and referee Ivan Kruzliak overturned his decision after being advised by the VAR to review the incident at the pitchside monitor.
While the Dutch had hopes of finding a late winner, Austria had other ideas and went ahead for the third time in the match just five minutes later through Sabitzer, who was played through exquisitely by substitute Christoph Baumgartner before smashing an effort past Verbruggen from the tightest of angles.
There was still time for Baumgartner to have a goal disallowed for offside and Weghorst to send a diving header over the bar before the country ranked 25th in the world were confirmed as Group D winners, with the Netherlands having to settle as one of the best third-placed qualifiers.
Austria coach Ralf Rangnick said: “We deserved to win in the end. Overall, we had the greater will to win and an extreme energy output on the pitch, which you could feel in every phase of the match.
“The way we reacted to the goals we conceded, that we didn’t bend, that we stayed true to our style of play and constantly kept seeking out our chances going forward.
“It’s incredible to finish top of a group that was the hardest possible based on UEFA coefficients.
“We started with an unlucky own goal against France, dealt with all the pressure put on us to win against Poland, and then to end as group winners is something very special.”
Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman said: “We started very badly in many aspects. There were many openings for the opponent. We were not aggressive and there was a lack of pressure on the opponents.
“It was very bad. We did not control the match early. Later on we performed slightly better and we had a few opportunities, but they punished us.
“We have to take responsibility on the pitch; we’re not entitled to get a better result.
“We knew before the match that if we finish third we would get a big nation in the next round. We will wait and see what happens.”
Sky Sports’ Dan Sansom:
Ralf Rangnick admitted there was doubt among the players when he was hired as Austria’s manager in 2022, but the 65-year-old has now led the nation to back-to-back wins at a major tournament for the first time since the 1982 World Cup – and he’s done so in fine style.
Known as one of the godfathers of “gegenpressing”, the German has left a permanent mark on modern football and Austria’s current squad is excelling under his guidance.
Their aggressive, front-foot approach saw them perform well in a narrow loss to France and more eye-catching displays followed in deserved wins over Poland and the Netherlands.
While Austria’s tireless running and fluid movement caused the Dutch constant problems in Berlin, their never-say-die attitude – instilled by Rangnick – was equally as impressive.
Many will view a country ranked 25th in the world as a surprise package at this tournament, but Austria have now lost just twice in 19 matches.
Rangnick’s side are a force to be reckoned with. They won’t fear anyone in the knockout stage.
Austria will face the runners-up in Group F (currently Turkey) in the last 16, with France facing the runners-up in Group E (currently Belgium).
The Netherlands’ next opponents are not yet confirmed. They could face Group B winners Spain, Group C winners England or Group E winners (currently Romania).
Once the four best third-placed teams have been determined, UEFA then allocates each nation to a last-16 tie in line with its regulations.
The top two teams from each of the six groups will proceed to the round of 16.
Those 12 sides will be joined by four of the six third-placed finishers in the groups. The sides finishing third will be placed into a league table, with the top four sides progressing to the last 16.
The teams that finish third in their respective groups are ranked in order of the following criteria, starting with:
The tournament then moves to a straight knockout format, with one-legged ties – including extra-time and penalties if necessary – until two sides reach the final on July 14 in Berlin.
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