Peep peep! The Netherlands join Italy and Belgium in the last 16 after a comfortable victory over an agomphious Austria. Memphis Depay’s early penalty put them ahead, and the impressive wing-back Denzel Dumfries sealed the win with his second goal of the tournament. They have won their group with a game to spare, which means Frank de Boer can play the reserves against North Macedonia if he is so inclined.
90 min “Won’t a draw between Ukraine and Austria send Ukraine through on goals scored, as things stand?” says Jason Finch.
It would, but four points would almost certainly be enough for Austria to go through as one of the best third-placed teams.
86 min Kalajdzic has been excellent since coming on. He beats four players in a tight space and finds Leiner, whose overhit cross is retrieved by Onisiwo. He wins a corner, but that’s also overhit and headed away.
85 min: Good chance for Austria! Karim Onisiwo almost scores with his first touch. Kalajdzic flipped a nice pass over the defence towards Onisiwo, who pulled off his man but then headed straight at Stekelenburg.
84 min Two more changes for Austria: Philipp Lienhart and Karim Onisiwo replace Dragovic and Schlager.
82 min I don’t think this Netherlands team is good enough to win the tournament, not without Virgil van Dijk, but with a fair wind they could easily reach the semi-finals. The team spirit looks excellent.
81 min Alaba charges forward from defence and smacks a superb 25-yard shot that swerves just wide of the far post. That was a lovely effort.
78 min It’s unusual to see a Netherlands side that is happy to play on the counter-attack, but they’ve done it very well tonight.
76 min Dumfries is on his haunches, holding his personal space after an accidental collision with Lazaro.
75 min Austria know a draw against Ukraine in their final game should be enough for them to reach the knockout stages of a tournament for the first time since 1982. They’ve been dismal tonight, mind.
74 min Another change for the Dutch: Ryan Gravenberch replaces de Roon, who had a good game doing the dirty work in midfield.
71 min A dangerous corner from the substitute Lazaro hits Kalajdzic, takes a deflection off a Dutch defender and rolls this far wide.
71 min So, the Netherlands will play a third-placed team from group A, D, E or F in the last 16. Realistic possibilities include Switzerland, Portugal, Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia and Poland.
68 min The right wing-back Denzel Dumfries is having a fine tournament: two goals, one assist and umpteen barnstorming runs.
Austria are punished for their dangerously high line. Depay, just inside his own half, flicked a clever pass through to the substitute Malen. He drew the keeper and then squared the ball to Dumfries, whose shot went through the diving Bachmann and into the net. It looked close to offside but replays showed Malen was comfortably on.
Denzel Dumfries scores his second of the tournament!
65 min A triple change for the Netherlands: Nathan Ake, Donyell Malen and Owen Wijndal replace Daley Blind, Wout Weghorst and Patrick van Aanholt.
63 min Austria still haven’t had a shot on target. The Netherlands have only had two, but it’s the thought that counts.
61 min: Good save from Bachmann! The corner almost leads to a second goal. It was driven very deep by Depay towards Weghorst, who headed it back across goal. An instinctive header from de Vrij was pushed away by the flying Bachmann, and de Jong’s follow-up deflected this far wide.
60 min Depay slides a nice pass inside the wing-back Lainer for van Aanholt, whose cross is put behind by the lunging Lainer. That was a good recovery from him.
59 min “Is the Anschluss/Disgrace of Gijon a bit too overhyped?” muses Niall Mullen. “Eight years later Ireland & the Netherlands downed tools at 1-1 in their last group game to ensure they both went through at Egypt’s expense but neither team have gone down in infamy like Germany and Austria (although Frank Rijkaard tried his best to rectify this in Holland’s next game).”
I watched the game in full a few years ago, because I’m like that, and it was nowhere near as bad as I expected. Much of the outrage was because they qualified at the expense of a brilliant, charming Algeria side.
57 min Austria have played with greater purpose and intensity since half time, though they still don’t really look like scoring.
55 min The swashbuckling Dumfries runs onto a lovely pass from Wijnaldum. But his cross is blocked, with the ball ricocheting off Dumfries and out for a throw-in.
51 min “As an Israeli,” says Ezra Finkelstein, “is it cool to support the referee?”
Of course, especially when he’s following in the footsteps and whistleblows of possibly the greatest referee of all time.
49 min Dumfries cuts the ball back to Wijnaldum on the edge of the area. He moves the ball onto his left foot and swishes a shot that is well blocked by Dragovic. Wijnaldum, a goal threat at the best of times, is even more dangerous in this advanced role.
46 min Laimer breaks into space down the right, looks up and slides a low cross that is intercepted by de Ligt. He might have done better there.
“True, France was at the 1978 FIFA WC,” says Alexandre Chesneau. “I had almost forgotten that, but I shouldn’t have – while the performances were largely forgettable (not that I would know about that by virtue of not being born at the time – that’s hearsay from people who lived to see it), their dead rubber against Hungary was somewhat worth remembering. Both teams turned up in white and France (who were apparently at fault, failing to take into account a note from FIFA) had to borrow kits from a local club. It’s probably the only time France wore green and white strips in any competition.”
France were pretty unlucky to get such a fiendish group. They played superbly against the hosts Argentina, eventually losing a classic and controversial match 2-1. But you’re right, the kit is the first thing people talk about.
“I was a bite late to the MBM tonight and see I’ve already missed references to 1978, 1996, Three Lions, Peru and Iran,” says Simon McMahon. “This is what the kids call ‘trolling’, right? And though I agree England may well have lost the collective noggin in many things recently, losing to Scotland is, alas, not one of them. Can we just skip to Saturday after this game, please?”
Or to the release of The Second Big Weekend by Arab Strap later in the year.
“The ‘Welsh referee’ that Andreas Broman referred to was the marvellous Clive Thomas,” says Matt Dony. “Even by normal refereeing standards, he had a somewhat pedantic attitude towards application of the laws of the game. And he was one of Wales’ biggest sports stars for a long time. Heady days. Glad we have a little more to cheer about these days!”
The Netherlands were particularly big fans of Clive Thomas.
Peep peep! That was a very comfortable half for the Dutch. A split-second misjudgement from David Alaba allowed Memphis Depay to ram home an early penalty, and both he and the captain Gini Wijnaldum could have made it 2-0 just before the break. Austria had plenty of the ball and did precisely bugger all with it.
45 min “Re the European teams at the 1978 World Cup: Sweden, obviously,” says Andreas Broman. “Thomas Sjöberg scored in the opener v Brazil, they equalised and Zico thought he had the winner – only for it to be chalked off by the Welsh ref who claimed it was a second too late. We also played Austria and Spain, so that’s three. Plus Scotland, Holland. West Germany, Italy? Then possibly Poland. Leave the rest for you.”
Yep, Italy, Poland, France and Hungary were the others. Then Argentina, Brazil, Tunisia, Mexico, Peru and Iran, I think.
43 min “Rob, you are being far too harsh on your mother country,” says Mary Waltz. “No one does darts like England.”
41 min van Aanholt surges into the area and lays the ball back to Wijnaldum, whose first-time shot is crucially blocked by Ulmer. Wijnaldum didn’t connect as cleanly as he would have liked.
40 min: Depay misses a great chance! van Aanholt sprays a fine angled pass over the defence towards Weghorst in the inside-right channel. He could shoot but instead guides the ball across the area towards the unmarked Depay. It takes a slight deflection and then Depay, on the stretch, lifts the bouncing ball over the bar from six yards. It did sit up a little awkwardly for Depay, but he should still have scored.
38 min If it stays like, the Netherlands will win the group and Austria will need a point against Ukraine to be (99 per cent) sure of reaching the last 16. A draw would also be enough for Ukraine. Reports that the match is being moved to Gijon are unconfirmed.
36 min “Thanks for the link to the video of Ogris’s impressive individual strike at Italia ’90,” says Martin Hughes. “I thought there was something a bit off with the video until I realised it’s just not quite the same without the inimitable commentary of a certain A.P.”
35 min Hinteregger tries to homage Giovani van Bronckhorst’s absurd goal in the 2010 World Cup semi-final. It’s beautifully struck but a few yards over the bar.
32 min Austria are having a good spell, with Sabitzer increasingly influential, and de Vrij is lucky not to be booked for an off-the-ball block of Ulmer.