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Netherlands 2-3 Austria: Austria Clinches Top Spot as Sabitzer Stunner Secures Thrilling Victory Over Netherlands

by: EdwardB


The Olympiastadion in Vienna bore witness to a night of high-octane football as Austria, fueled by an electrifying performance, overturned a deficit to secure a Netherlands 2-3 Austria scoreline. The win, capped off by a moment of individual brilliance from Marcel Sabitzer, sees Ralf Rangnick’s side finish atop Group D, defying pre-tournament predictions and setting themselves up for a potentially deep run in the competition.

A See-Saw Battle of End-to-End Action

From the first whistle, Austria stormed out of the gates, pressing high and playing with an intensity that the Dutch initially struggled to handle. However, it was the Netherlands who drew first blood, albeit through an unfortunate own goal. As Alexander Prass whipped in a dangerous cross, Dutch forward Donyell Malen, in an attempt to clear, could only direct the ball past a helpless Bart Verbruggen and into his own net.

Donyell Malen

Undeterred by the setback, Austria continued their relentless assault on the Dutch goal. Their persistence paid dividends midway through the second half when a well-worked move culminated in Florian Grillitsch squaring the ball for Romano Schmid to bundle home from close range.

The Dutch, however, responded with renewed purpose in the second half. A surging run from Lutsharel Geertruida, who had endured a difficult first half defensively, released Xavi Simons, whose pinpoint pass found Cody Gakpo for a composed finish to level the scores.

The equal score didn’t last long. Shortly after, Austria took the lead again. Patrick Wimmer, about to be substituted after receiving a yellow card, troubled the Dutch defense along the left side and provided an accurate cross to Schmid, who expertly headed the ball past Verbruggen.

The drama wasn’t over yet. With the clock ticking down, a moment of individual brilliance from Memphis Depay, who expertly controlled a Wout Weghorst header before slotting home, seemingly rescued a point for the Netherlands. The goal, initially ruled out for handball, was eventually given after a VAR review.

Just as it seemed the two sides would share the spoils, Sabitzer stepped up to steal the show. The Austrian captain got the ball with only five minutes left, just outside the penalty area. He moved inside and used his left foot to shoot a powerful and unstoppable shot that went into the back of the net, causing the home crowd to erupt with joy.

Tactical Masterclass and Standout Performances

The victory was a testament to the effectiveness of Rangnick’s high-tempo, pressing style of play. Austria’s relentless energy and commitment to attacking football caused the Dutch problems throughout the match. Sabitzer, thriving in a more central role similar to his RB Leipzig days, was the standout performer, showcasing his exceptional technical ability and eye for goal.

Beyond Sabitzer, Baumgartner’s impact off the bench underlined the depth and quality within the Austrian squad. On the Dutch side, Geertruida made up for his defensive difficulties by playing a crucial part in the equalizing goal. Still, it was a disappointing evening for Malen, who will regret his early mistake even though he displayed flashes of his attacking ability.

Marcel Sabitzer

Onwards and Upwards for Austria

The win puts Austria at the top of Group D and sets up a Round of 16 clash against the runners-up of Group F, likely to be either Turkey or the Czech Republic. Intriguingly, the match will take place in Leipzig, offering Rangnick and several of his players a potential “homecoming” of sorts.

As for the Netherlands, they face a daunting task in the next round, with a potential encounter against England looming. While their attacking prowess remains evident, Austria exposed their defensive vulnerabilities on multiple occasions, and they will need to address these issues to progress further in the tournament.

For now, though, the night belongs to Austria. Rangnick’s revitalized side, playing with a swagger and belief that belies their underdog status, shows that opponents should not underestimate them. After their exhilarating victory over the Netherlands, whispers of a deep tournament run, once deemed fanciful, are starting to grow louder.

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