(Depay 11′, Dumfries 67′)
How often is a match decided by a single miscue? Too often, if you are Germany or Austria at Euro 2020. Two days after an own goal by national team returnee Mats Hummels saw Germany fall 1-0 to reigning World Cup champions France, Austrian captain David Alaba committed the foul that resulted in a Dutch penalty – that Memphis Depay confidently put away.
Were this Euro 2016 the former Bayern Munich man who is on his way to Real Madrid may just have got away with it as the referee didn’t pick up on the foul on Denzel Dumfries just centimeters inside the area. Five years ago, VAR hadn’t come along yet.
Unfortunately for Alaba and his Austrians though it’s long since a major part of the game, and upon reviewing the footage himself, referee Orel Grinfeeld saw what everyone else had seen on the replay – and quickly pointed to the spot.
The Austrians were unable to bounce back after Alaba conceded the penalty that gave the Dutch the lead
Loss of momentum
Not only were the Austrians now down a goal but having started the match brightly, trying to run at the Dutch defense, they also lost any momentum they were trying to establish in the nine minutes leading up to the foul.
What also didn’t work in their favor was that Matthijs de Ligt had returned to the Netherlands starting lineup after having missed their opening victory over Ukraine with a groin problem. With de Ligt running the back line, the Austrians had trouble creating much in the way of truly dangerous scoring chances – even on the occasions when they did manage spend periods of play in the Dutch third of the pitch.
The best of the first half came from Hoffenheim’s Christoph Baumgartner in the 28th minute, but his effort was easily headed away by a Dutch defender.
While the Dutch got de Ligt back, the Austrians were without an attacking option who just might have been able to make the difference. In the pregame press conference Austria coach Franco Foda, admitted that he would have considered starting Marko Arnautovic on Thursday night. However, the former Werder Bremen attacker had been suspended for the game after UEFA found him guilty of insulting an opponent as he celebrated scoring his side’s third goal in their 3-1 win over North Macedonia on Sunday.
For most of the second half, the Austrians continued to have trouble penetrating the Dutch midfield and defense. Then the Oranje struck on the counter, with Denzel Dumfries, the man Alaba had fouled to concede the penalty, finishing the move to the delight of the Dutch supporters in the Amsterdam Arena.
Alaba takes a crack
It was after they had gone down by two that the Austrians came closest to getting one back. Perhaps realizing there was no way to penetrate the Dutch area, Alaba launched a decent effort from a couple of meters outside the area, but the ball curled just outside of the right post.
Three minutes later and just seconds after entering the match as a sub, Karim Onisiwo had perhaps the Austrians’ best chance of the match – but the Mainz midfielder’s header went straight into the arms of Maarten Stekelenburg.
The win puts the Dutch through to the last 16, while Austria will have Arnautovic back as they go for a vital win over Ukraine in Bucharest on Monday.