To cap off a tripleheader on the seventh day of competition in Euro 2020, Netherlands and Austria battled for a spot in the round of 16 in Amsterdam.
Both teams won their opening matches in Group C as Austria defeated North Macedonia 3-1 and Netherlands defeated Ukraine 3-2 in thrilling fashion.
Ukraine opened Thursday’s action against North Macedonia. Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk, who scored the two goals against Netherlands on Sunday, each scored again for Ukraine, leading them to a 2-1 win. However, since they scored one fewer goal than Austria against North Macedonia, Austria gained a temporary advantage in the goal differential department.
The match started in disastrous fashion for Austria as star defender David Alaba stomped the foot of Netherlands right-back Denzel Dumfires in the 10th minute, drawing a penalty kick attempt for the Dutch.
Netherlands striker Memphis Depay smashed the ball underneath the outstretched arms of Austrian goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann toward the back of the net, giving the Dutch a 1-0 lead.
Netherlands continued to push for more goals in the Austrian zone throughout the first half. Georginio Wijnaldum had a shot blocked by Andreas Ulmer while Depay missed two more chances to pad the Dutch’s lead, including a wide-open sitter late in the first half.
Netherlands entered halftime with a 1-0 lead despite the possession being relatively even between the two teams. Austria, who was without the services of forward Marko Arnautovic after he was suspended for one match after insulting a North Macedonia player, lacked attacking momentum and threatening chances to gain an equalizer.
The second half saw the Dutch double their advantage on a counterattack, set up by Depay. In the 67th minute, Dumfries and substitute forward Donyell Malen were left all alone on a 2-1 chance against Bachmann. Malen passed it to Dumfries, who tapped it in off the left arm of Bachmann to give the Dutch a 2-0 lead.
Dumfries notched his second goal of Euro 2020, putting a capper on the Dutch’s 2-0 win over Austria. Netherlands clinched a spot in the round of 16 in Euro 2020 with the victory as the Group C winners. In their first major competition since the 2014 FIFA World Cup where they finished third place, Netherlands have shown their innate scoring ability with five goals in their first two Euro 2020 matches. Their defense improved from giving up two goals against Ukraine, not allowing Austria to find any rhythm in the final third of the pitch.
Austria was outclassed by the Dutch and could not capitalize on the momentum of their 3-1 win over North Macedonia. They lacked any true opportunities to score and could not stop the Dutch’s electric attack. The two-goal loss means the advantage on goal differential they claimed before the match went to waste. Austria now faces a decisive Matchday 3 showdown with Ukraine on Monday to determine who will advance to the knockout round of Euro 2020 as both teams have three points with an even goal differential.
The decisive Ukraine-Austria match, along with Netherlands taking on North Macedonia, will both occur on Monday at noon EST.