Preview: Netherlands vs. Austria

Requiring just one point to ensure a place in the knockout phase of Euro 2024, the Netherlands meet Austria for their final Group D fixture on Tuesday.

The teams convene in Berlin, with the Oranje having four points on the board following their stalemate with France; Ralf Rangnick’s men swept past Poland last time out but must now avoid defeat to have a good chance of reaching the last 16.

Match preview

Aiming to reach the knockout rounds for an eighth time in their last nine European Championship appearances, the Netherlands took one step closer to their primary goal by holding tournament favourites France to a 0-0 draw on Friday night.

Though neither side could break the deadlock in Leipzig, Xavi Simons appeared to have put his team ahead in the 69th minute, with the skilful forward firing into the bottom corner after France goalkeeper Mike Maignan had denied Memphis Depay.

However, following a lengthy VAR check, the strike was ultimately ruled out for offside, with Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries judged to have been interfering with Maignan’s dive – that left boss Ronald Koeman fuming, but his side still managed to put themselves within a whisker of the last 16.

Having previously beaten Poland 2-1 in their opener, the Oranje will secure a place in Group D’s top two should they avoid losing to Austria; guaranteeing first place if they win and France fail to deliver against Poland.

Meanwhile, if Koeman’s men draw and France win they will still finish second – even in defeat, four points would likely prove enough to progress as a third-placed finisher.

Since the 2014 World Cup, the Netherlands are unbeaten in group matches at major tournaments, winning nine of 11 and scoring in each game except Friday’s goalless encounter with Les Bleus.

During that streak, Austria were beaten 2-0 at Euro 2020, when Depay and Dumfries were both on target at the Johan Cruijff Arena. A repeat would now take a highly-rated Dutch squad through to the next phase with room to spare.

Including defeat in Amsterdam three summers ago, Austria have lost their last seven matches against the Netherlands – their longest ongoing sequence against a single opponent.

In fact, their last victory over the Oranje dates back to May 1990, but ending that barren run may be necessary on Tuesday evening, in order to ensure qualification for the last 16.

Austria will actually win Group D if they take maximum points and France do not, but should they draw and Les Bleus lose, the Austrians will instead finish third on head-to-head record.

One point would surely prove sufficient to progress as a best third-place team in any case, helping Das Team reach the European Championship knockout rounds for the second consecutive edition. Having failed to get past the group stage in their first two appearances – as hosts in 2008, and then again eight years later – that would represent an impressive achievement.

After suffering defeat to France in their first match at Euro 2024, two players recalled to the starting lineup were on the scoresheet as Ralf Rangnick’s side recorded an important 3-1 victory over Poland on Friday afternoon.

Gernot Trauner opened the scoring, and Christoph Baumgartner netted Austria’s second after a clever dummy from Marko Arnautovic, who went on to confirm all three points from the penalty spot with 12 minutes remaining.

Following their 3-1 victory in Berlin, the Austrians could now win back-to-back games at a major finals for the first time since 1982 when they step out at the iconic Olympiastadion once again.

Team News

Ronald Koeman should have a full squad at his disposal for the Netherlands’ final group fixture, as Ajax striker Brian Brobbey was back on the bench for the France game after overcoming a hamstring injury.

Introducing Jeremie Frimpong for PSV midfielder Joey Veerman was Koeman’s only change on Friday, but with one foot already in the last 16, further switches will surely be considered.

Both Veerman and his clubmate Jerdy Schouten are one booking away from suspension, which may be a minor factor in team selection, potentially opening the door for Ryan Gravenberch or Georginio Wijnaldum to join Tijjani Reijnders.

The latter completed more line-breaking passes than any Dutch player last time out (13), also boasting the best pass completion rate of any outfield starter (97%).

Up front, Wout Weghorst will hope to supplant Memphis Depay, who is just five goals shy of equalling Robin van Persie’s record total for the Oranje.

At the back, Virgil van Dijk made eight clearances against France: the most by a Netherlands player in a group game at the European Championship since 2008. The Liverpool stalwart will captain his national team once again.

Meanwhile, Austria boss Ralf Rangnick tinkered with his starting XI ahead of the victory over Poland, so more changes cannot be ruled out on Tuesday.

Against France, Max Wober and Kevin Danso were paired in central defence, but Gernot Trauner and Philipp Lienhart stepped into the side last time out. After scoring the opener, Trauner was later forced off by a muscular problem, so his fitness is now in some doubt.

Christoph Baumgartner claimed the ‘Man of the Match’ award so is likely to be retained, while all-time top scorer Marko Arnautovic again battles it out with Michael Gregoritsch to spearhead the Austrian attack.

Captain Marcel Sabitzer will make his 10th major tournament appearance, becoming the first Austrian to do since the 1982 World Cup. His fellow midfielder Nicolas Seiwald has recovered possession 11 times and made 10 tackles in two games at Euro 2024 so far – both the most of any Austria player – and is yet to concede a foul.

Netherlands possible starting lineup:
Verbruggen; Dumfries, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Ake; Reijnders, Schouten; Frimpong, Simons, Gakpo; Depay

Austria possible starting lineup:
Pentz; Posch, Danso, Lienhart, Mwene; Seiwald, Laimer; Wimmer, Baumgartner, Sabitzer; Gregoritsch

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