Netherlands vs Austria 2-3: Rangnick Side Grabs Group D Top Spot!

After three rounds at Euro 2024, we finally have our dark horse. Ralf Rangnick’s Austria became the surprise package of the group stage as they beat Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands 3-2 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.

In view of France’s concomitant draw with Poland, Rangnick and his boys claimed the top spot in Group D, passing the much more favorite Bleus and Oranje, who ended second and third respectively. 

It was a vibrant match in Berlin, perhaps the most entertaining seen so far at the Euro. Austria showed no fear and eventually took all three points on offer despite the Netherlands managing to equalize twice. The man of the day was Austria’s most representative player, Dortmund’s Marcel Sabitzer, who scored the winner. But it was the whole Austrian side to shine. The Oranje, on the other hand, woke up only in the second half after a disastrous first period. 

The Wunderteam opened the scoring on six minutes, and they did so thanks to an own goal, in pure “Euro 2024 style”. From an Alexander Prass’ cross from the left, Donyell Malen went for a sliding clearance in the box but ended up firing the ball right into his own net. It was the inevitable outcome following Austria’s shimmering start, Rangnick’s side pressing very high up the pitch from the get go. 

Malen tried to redeem himself on 23 minutes as he was picked by Milan’s Tijjani Reijnders with a fine pass through the back line but his strike went wide of Patrick Pentz’s goal. That was the Netherlands’ only chance in a first half where the Oranje struggled to find their edge.  

Their coach Ronald Koeman realized that something needed to change and came up with a somewhat unusual early substitution as Xavi Simons replaced Joey Veerman on 35 minutes.

Still, it was Austria to continue to attack: Marcel Sabitzer drew a fine save from Bart Verbruggen at the near post, then Marko Arnautovic was also denied by the Dutch goalkeeper, even though the Inter backup striker should have done better in the occasion.  

Koeman must have made himself heard in the locker room as the Dutch’s approach was totally different after the restart and earned them an early equalizer. Simons recovered the ball at midfield and led a swift counterattack, which Cody Gakpo finalized with a clinical curling strike.

For a few minutes, it seemed like like the Netherlands could reverse the match momentum as defenders Virgil Van Dijk and Stefan De Vrij both had chances to complete the comeback. But then, Austria hit again. Credit must be given to their midfielder Florian Grillitsch, who managed to whip the ball back into the box just before it would pass the end line. His cross was met by Werder Bremen’s Roman Schmid with a perfectly-timed header, making it 2-1.

The Dutch did not give up though, and, on 76 minutes, Wout Weghorst headed the ball for Memphis Depay in the middle of the box from a Gakpo cross. The mercurial striker controlled the ball with his body, then teleported it into the top right corner of the net with a brilliant touch. There was some drama as the referee believed he spotted a handball on Depay’s part, but the VAR corrected his decision and allowed the goal.

Netherlands did not even time to celebrate. Two minutes later, substitute Christoph Baumgartner sent the ball through for Sabitzer, Van Dijk lost the Austrian captain and allowed him to fire the ball into the back of the net to set the score at 3-2. Austria even made it four in the dying minutes of the game, but Baumgartner was ruled offsite as beat Verbruggen at the near post. 

The Netherlands’ final assault was confused and did not create any real problem to Rangnick’s side, who could celebrate a sensational first place in the group. The Oranje also advanced to the knockouts as one of the best ranked third place teams since they already have a better record than both Hungary and Croatia from Groups A and B.   



June 25, 2024 – Euro 2024 Group D

SCORERS: 6′ Malen (N, o.g.), 47′ Gakpo (N), 59′ Schmid (A), 75′ Depay (N), 80′ Sabitzer (A)

NETHERLANDS (4-3-3): Verbruggen; Geertruida, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Aké (65′ Van de Ven); Reijnders (65′ Wijnaldum), Schouten, Veerman (35′ Simons); Malen (72′ Weghorst), Depay, Gakpo Coach: Koeman
AUSTRIA (4-2-3-1): Pentz; Posch, Lienhart (62′ Baumgartner), Wober, Prass; Seiwald, Grillitsch (64′ Querfeld); Schmid (92′ Weimann), Sabitzer, Wimmer (63′ Laimer); Arnautovic (79′ Gregoritsch) Coach: Rangnick

REFEREE: Mr. Kruzliak (Slovakia)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Posch, Wimmer (A); Added Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 6′

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