Double Dutch: Netherlands make it two wins from two as they beat Austria to book Euro 2020 knockout spot
After the thrills of the rollercoaster win against Ukraine in their opening fixture, Thursday night in the Dutch capital was far more straightforward for the hosts as they secured passage from Group C thanks to a goal in each half from Memphis Depay and Denzel Dumfries.
The first came from the penalty spot after just 11 minutes at Amsterdam Arena after Austrian captain David Alaba trod on Dumfries’ foot just inside the box, in a challenge which was confirmed as a spot-kick by the VAR.
Depay stepped up to slot home the penalty confidently, and the lead was doubled by Dumfries in the 67th minute when the ball was unselfishly squared to him by Donyell Malen following a fine team move.
2 - Denzel Dumfries is the second player ever to score in his first two European Championship games for the Netherlands, after Ruud van Nistelrooy. Delighted. pic.twitter.com/t5WLEvEfZZ— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 17, 2021
This wasn’t seen as a vintage Dutch crop heading into the tournament, but Frank de Boer’s team are guaranteed to finish top of Group C with one game to spare.
The Netherlands have six points from their two games – three ahead of Austria and Ukraine, while North Macedonia are bottom without a win.
Earlier in the day, Ukraine earned a 2-1 win over the Macedonians in Bucharest to boost their qualification chances.
Austria – who themselves beat North Macedonia 3-1 in their opening game – next meet Ukraine at the National Arena in Bucharest on Monday.
That game is set to determine who finishes second behind the Dutch in the automatic qualifying spots.
The third team in the group will be faced with an anxious wait to see if they have secured one of the spots in the last 16 awarded to the four best third-placed finishers.
The Dutch play North Macedonia in Amsterdam on Monday in what is a dead rubber for the hosts, who already know they have secured a last 16 game in Budapest on June 27 against the best third-placed team from either Group D, E or F.
🇳🇱 The Netherlands are through to the Round of 16 as group winners! 🎉🎉🎉#EURO2020— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 17, 2021
Elsewhere, Belgium reached the last 16 earlier on Thursday by coming from behind to beat Denmark in Copenhagen in their Group B meeting.
The Belgians, Dutch and Italians are the three teams thus far who have guaranteed a spot in the knockout stages.