Euro 2020 Special

Euro 2020: The Flying Dutchmen March on to the Last 16

Netherlands 2-0 Austria

Netherlands maintained their sizzling start in Euro 2020 as they beat Austria 2-0 at Amsterdam last Thursday night.

Memphis Depay kickstarted the scoring by putting in a penalty kick early in the first half and Denzel Dumfries added one for himself after the hour mark to dispatch the Austrians.

The game felt one-sided since the Oranje were in control for much of the game. However, after taking the one-goal lead early, Netherlands weren’t converting their chances and they never felt entirely comfortable.

But Frank de Boer’s side finally sealed the deal through Denzel Dumfries’ late goal and Netherlands are now undefeated in their last six international contests.

With the victory, Netherlands stayed on top of Group C and they are going to advance to the knockout stages alongside Italy and Belgium. The second knockout stage spot, however, remains up for grabs.

Ukraine and Austria have three points apiece and they will be looking to catch the last bus to the Final 16 in their upcoming crucial match.

As we continue to provide coverage for the biggest European showcase, let us recap last night’s set of Euro 2020 highlights.

Highlights of the game

David Alaba and Austria failed to snatch the needed points in Euro 2020
David Alaba looking frustrated after Austria were beaten by Netherlands

We knew that Netherlands and Austria are headed into a dogfight for Group C supremacy since getting to the top would send them into the knockout phase of the tournament.

Netherlands were favoured by the Euro 2020 odds to win and they justified the said prediction by taking control the first few minutes of the game.

After failing to register a shot on target, the Oranje would get into the scoresheet as they exploited Austria’s lacklustre defence.

David Alaba hit Denzel Dumfries with a lazy challenge just inside the box and the referees gave Netherlands the penalty to which Memphis Depay calmly scored in the 11th minute.

The Barcelona-bound striker almost doubled their lead before the break if only he didn’t misplace his kick after receiving a forward pass from Wout Weghorst.

Frank de Boer’s men were in the driver’s seat in large part because of Gini Wijnaldum — who is headed to PSG next season — was all over the place, constantly winning back possession in the midfield by snuffing out attacking opportunities of their visitors.

In the second half, Stefan de Vrij forced a stunning save from Austria goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann with his close-range header before the hosts finally doubled their lead in the 67th minute.

When Austria insisted on playing too high, Memphis Depay found an opening and delivered a wonderful ball to substitute Donyell Malen, who teed up Denzel Dumfries for his second goal of the competition.

It’s clear that Austria were missing the presence of the suspended Marko Arnautovic as their first shot on target came in a little too late when the match is essentially over.

Key statistics

Netherlands are now undefeated in nine consecutive matches in major international tournaments after losing each of their three group stages games in Euro 2012, which is the longest run by an European country since Portugal.

On the other hand, Austria have suffered their fifth defeat in their last eight at the Euros and they have failed to score in four of those losses.

Denzel Dumfries is on fire for the Dutchmen since he is their leading scorer of the competition at two goals. After failing to score in his first 19 games for the Oranje, the wing-back has now netted in back-to-back games.

He is the first Dutch player since Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2004 to score in his first two games at the Euros.

Memphis Depay scored his 27th goal for the Oranje and yesterday marked his eighth in his last nine international games. He has now had a hand in 49 goals for his country.

There were questions about Matthijs de Ligt on whether he can handle the pressure of leading their backline with Virgil van Dijk out, but he has lived up to the expectations.

The hulking Juventus centre-back shrugged off his groin injury and he completed 100-per cent of his passes against Austria (40/40), which is a record for a Dutch player since 1980.

What’s next?

We are about to approach the conclusion of the group stage matches but the action doesn’t stop here at SBOTOP.

Netherlands are slated to host North Macedonia at the Johan Cruyff Arena, while Austria face Ukraine in a sudden death match at the National Arena in Bucharest.

Both concluding Group C games are set to take place on Monday night.