Dutch delight as they secure last 16 berth with win over Austria

Group C

Netherlands 2-0 Austria

Goals in each half from Memphis Depay and Denzel Dumfries saw Netherlands cruise past Austria 2-0 in Amsterdam to book their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020 as Group C winners.

The hosts took an early lead from a penalty, given after the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee who spotted that Austria captain David Alaba had caught Dumfries in the box, with Depay converting from the spot.

And it was Dumfries who doubled the Dutch lead midway through the second half with a simple close-range finish after the visitors’ offside trap malfunctioned badly, the PSV Eindhoven right-back’s second goal of the tournament.

As a result, Frank de Boer’s side have joined both Italy and Belgium in the knockout phase having won Group C with a match to spare, while Austria can join them with a win against Ukraine in their final game on Monday.

Memphis Depay celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot.

Both teams went into the game knowing a second win in Group C would send them into the knockout phase of the tournament, but it was the home side who began the better, going ahead after just 11 minutes.

Initially, Orel Grinfeld waved play on when rampaging Dutch right wing-back Dumfries went over in the box under Alaba’s lazy challenge, only for VAR Pawel Gil to send the Israeli official over to the pitch-side TV monitor.

And when the referee watched the incident again, he wasted little time in deciding the Austria captain had caught the top of Dumfries’s foot, with the challenge taking place just inside the box.

The Barcelona-bound Depay duly obliged by placing the resulting spot-kick into the bottom left-hand corner of the net, with the Oranje dominating the rest of the first half.

Denzel Dumfries celebrates scoring his second goal of the tournament.

In fact, Netherlands – who welcomed back Matthijs de Ligt from injury – really should have increased their lead before the break, only for Depay to somehow side-foot over the bar from just five yards out after seemingly having a goal put on his plate by Wout Weghorst’s unselfish pass.

The one-way traffic continued after the break, with Watford No 1 Daniel Bachmann being forced to pull off a stunning reaction save to keep out Stefan de Vrij’s close-range header, before the home team did double their advantage.

Austria had insisted on playing a dangerously high line from the kick-off and it was no real surprise when the Dutch exploited it as Depay released Donyell Malen over halfway and the substitute then powered forward unchallenged, before laying the ball off for Dumfries to score into the empty net.

The shot-shy visitors, who badly missed the suspended Marko Arnautovic, had to wait until late on to have their first effort on target, but by then, it was too little, too late with the game over as a contest.

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