Austria beats Netherlands to reach knockout stage of Euro 2024 as group winner ahead of France

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Marcel Sabitzer scored late for Austria to advance to the knockout stage of the European Championship as group winner with a 3-2 victory over the Netherlands on Tuesday.

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Austria topped Group D thanks to France drawing with Poland 1-1 in the other game. Both France and the Netherlands were already assured of progress thanks to results in other games.

The Austrians had needed a point to be sure of advancing and got off to a great start with Dutch forward Donyell Malen scoring an own goal in the sixth minute.

First-half substitute Xavi Simons set up Cody Gapko to equalize two minutes after the break, but Romano Schmid headed Austria back in front in the 59th.

Memphis Depay equalized with a brilliant finish in the 75th, though he had to endure a VAR check as referee Ivan Kruzliak felt he handled the ball. The check found Depay hadn’t.

But Sabitzer restored Austria’s lead two minutes later with a fierce strike from a difficult angle.

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It proved to be the winner despite a frenetic finale with chances at both ends.

Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman made three changes to the team that drew against France. He had criticized Simons for not pressing enough in that match and subsequently dropped the young player in favor of Joey Veerman in midfield. Lutsharel Geertruida started for Denzel Dumfries at right-back, and Malen started in place of Jeremie Frimpong, who plays as a wing back for Bayer Leverkusen.

But Koeman’s team made a lethargic start in contrast to the busy Austrians, who scored when Malen turned Alexander Prass’ cross inside the left post.

Tijjani Reijnders and Malen both missed good chances to equalize. Koeman berated his charges and told his substitutes to warm up. He sent Simons on for Veerman in the 35th.

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Simons’ entrance gave the Dutch more urgency. Depay saw a header cleared off the line before the break, and Simons set up Gapko after Florian Grillitsch lost the ball in midfield.

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Koeman’s side maintained its pressure and looked more likely to score until Grillitsch crossed for Schmid to head Austria back in front with his first international goal. Ultimately, the Austrians were more clinical.

In the group’s other match, Kylian Mbappe scored from the penalty spot on his return after breaking his nose before France conceded a spot kick by Robert Lewandowski in a 1-1 draw with Poland.

Mbappe removed his protective mask to celebrate in front of France’s fans after converting his 56th-minute penalty for his first goal at a European Championship. It wasn’t enough to secure his team first place in Group D at Euro 2024, though.

Lewandowski had his penalty saved in the 77th minute by France goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who was adjudged to have come off his line. The Poland striker found the bottom corner with his second attempt.

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