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Euro 2024: Netherlands 2-3 Austria – Austrians storm to top of group with epic victory

Ralf Rangnick's side climb from third to first to head into the Round of 16 in style

Virgil van Dijk

Austria produced a stunning performance to win a see-saw game against the Netherlands 3-2 to see the Dutch slide from first in Group D to third.

Ralf Rangnick’s men were worthy winners in the baking Berlin sun with a performance high on energy and invention.

Donyell Malen turned into his own net early on to put Austria ahead and though Cody Gakpo curled the leveller seconds after the interval, Romano Schmid’s diving header restored the lead 12 minutes later.

Memphis Depay’s classy touch and finish six minutes later set up a grandstand finale but it was Austria who won it on 86 minutes when Marcel Sabitzer strolled through to lash the winner and send his side through to the Round of 16 as Group D winners.

With France’s draw against Poland, the Netherlands had to settle for limping into the knockout stages in third place, 36 years to the day since they won the European Championships on German soil.

Electric Austrians punish sluggish Dutch

Ralf Rangnick made four changed in a bid to freshen up his side and it paid dividends as they looked far more sprightly than their opponents, despite the 28c temperature in the Olympiastadion.

Austria made a fast start and a cross from the left from the recalled Alexander Prass evaded everyone, with Schmid turning down the chance of a first-time shot at the far post.

It was Prass who laid-on the opening goal on six minutes as he collected a pass from Marko Arnautovic and tried to fizz a low cross back in from the left, only for the backtracking Malen to slide and inadvertently poke the ball past Bart Verbruggen at his near post.

The Dutch should have been level on 14 minutes when Gakpo squared the ball across the box and Tijjani Reijnders allowed the ball to roll across his body but could only side-foot well past the far post.

Austrian fans were cheering every pass inside 20 minutes as their heroes enjoyed a long spell of possession but were nearly silenced when Depay flicked to Reijnders whose fine reverse pass slotted Malen clean through on goal, only to scuff his low effort past Patrick Pentz’s outstretched leg but also past the base of the post.

Florian Grillitsch tested Verbruggen with a dipping volley from the edge of the area after Marcel Sabitzer’s drive was charged down on the half hour.

Frustrated Ronald Koeman was forced into making a change 12 minutes before the break, undoing one of his three changes to his XI as Xavi Simons was brought on in place of Joey Veerman who had endured a pretty torrid first half against the energetic Austrians.

It still might have been worse at the break as Verbruggen got down well to parry a Sabitzer drive and was then able to claw the bouncing ball away after the loose ball looped up to Arnautovic who missed his kick with only the keeper to beat.

Dutch turn the tide after interval

It took just 74 seconds of the second half for Gakpo to equalise as Grillitsch was caught in possession before Simons drove forward from his own half and played the ball left to the Liverpool man who stepped inside his man and bent the ball inside the far post past Pentz.

Virgil van Dijk saw a header from a corner deflected over by Max Wober as the Dutch sought to turn the game on its head but it was Austria who snatched the third goal just before the hour when Grillitsch burst to the byline to clip a curling cross into the middle for Schmidt to meet with a downward header past Verbruggen.

The Dutch failed to muster much of a response as they tired, although Simons did hook an speculative effort from 45 yards wide after Pentz’ poor clearance kick left the goal temporarily gaping.

However the introduction of Wout Weghorst on 72 minutes changed the game within four minutes as he nodded down a looping cross and Depay controlled expertly before guiding a first-time volley into the top corner.

The pendulum swung once again just another moments minutes later as Sabitzer latched onto a sublime through ball by Baumgartner, being played well onside by van Dijk, before lashing an angled shot high past Verbruggen at his near post.

Baumgartner himself saw another angled finish ruled out for offside moments later while Weghorst went close with a diving header at the other end as the see-saw match threatened another tilt.

Micky van der Ven saw a cross-shot turned behind by the keeper in stoppage time but despite a frantic finish the Austrians ran out deserved winners, of the match, and Group D too.

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.