Euro 2024: Austria upset Netherlands, Poland hold France to deny top spot

by IANS |

 June 26 (IANS) Austria won Group D after Marcel Sabitzer's late 3-2 winner stunned the Netherlands whereas Robert Lewandowski helped Poland hold France to a 1-1 stalemate in the last round of group play. The Netherlands caught the worst possible start at Berlin Olympia stadium as Donyell Malen cleared Alexanders Prass' square pass into the wrong goal, giving Austria a 1-0 lead with six minutes played. The Dutchmen responded well and tried to restore parity, but Tijjani Reijnders squandered two promising opportunities as the match progressed. Austria remained dangerous though as Sabitzer tested goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen with a low shot in the 38th minute., reports Xinhua. The Netherlands caught a perfect start two minutes into the second half as Xavi Simons initiated a counterattack before feeding Cody Gakpo, who curled the ball into the far post corner with a well-placed shot. It was a short-lived joy for Ronald Koeman's men as Austria bounced back and took the lead again after Florian Grillitsch's pinpoint cross allowed Romano Schmid to nod home at the hour mark. The Netherlands remained unimpressed and made it two all with 75 minutes gone as Memphis Depay tapped home Wout Weghort's assist by header. Austria had the last laugh and clinched the group win after Sabitzer finished off Christoph Baumgartner's good build-up work from tight angle to round off the 3-2 victory. "The team showed a great will today. They always came back and that against a strong opponent which is remarkable. In the end, we secured a deserved victory here. It is unbelievable that we have won this group after staring with a defeat," said Austria head coach Ralf Rangnick. In the other Group D clash, France failed to secure the group win as veteran striker Robert Lewandowski cancelled out Kylian Mbappe's opener to ensure a 1-1 draw. With the result, Austria finished the group atop the standings with six points, followed by France (5 points), the Netherlands (4 points) and Poland (1 point). "I would like to thank the fans for showing up today despite us being eliminated. We fought until the end, and we had some really good spells," said Poland coach Michal Probierz.

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