After coming into Euro 2020 with major doubts, the Netherlands needed just two matches to secure a spot in the Round of 16 thanks to a 2-0 win over Austria in front of the home crowd in Amsterdam, with Frenkie De Jong and soon-to-be Barcelona striker Memphis Depay once again instrumental for the Oranje.
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman was in the stands to watch the team he coached until last year:
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman in the house to watch his successor and the Netherlands take on Austria pic.twitter.com/vOc7raVHwP— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2021
And what Koeman saw was an excellent first half by Frank De Boer’s Netherlands, who picked up where they left off against Ukraine and launched a barrage of attacks on the Austrian defense, and it only took 11 minutes for them to open the scoring.
After David Alaba was caught by VAR stepping on Denzel Dumfries’ foot inside the box, the home team was given a penalty, and Depay stepped up with confidence and scored from the spot:
MEMPHIS PUTS THE DUTCH AHEAD WITH A PENALTY! pic.twitter.com/rk9p2Vj2Bu— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2021
There were plenty of chances for the Dutch throughout the half, none better than the one Depay had just before halftime, but Memphis pulled off a truly inexplicable miss from three yards out:
After being thoroughly outplayed in the first half, Austria came back with better energy to start the second and had a little more of the ball but still couldn’t trouble the Dutch defense, and 20 minutes into the period Depay showed his strenght and talent as he held off Alaba and released Donyell Malen on a free run towards the box, and Malen set up Dumfries for a tap-in and a massive second goal for the home team.
Austria tried as hard as they could to find a late goal to give them some life, but the Netherlands defense held on and kept the clean sheet. The final whistle came, and the Dutch are flying to the next round.
A moment to shout out Frenkie De Jong here. He didn’t score or have a shot, but just like the last game against Ukraine he was tremendous. His ability to provide a defensive base in midfield, control the pace of the game with his passing, and also use his skills to carry the ball forward whenever his team seems to be in danger of losing it is magical to watch. It really helps to have a really good, underrated holding midfielder like Marten De Roon alongside him, but man... Frenkie is special.