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A star-studded Netherlands hosted an enthusiastic Austria as both teams looped to quench their Round-of-16 thirst. With Ukraine brushing aside North Macedonia earlier in the day, Frank De Boer’s La Oranje could have marched on to the knockout stages with a win.




The game had a robust start with both teams bringing their attacking flair to the table. Domination in the centre of the park was Netherlands major asset whereas Austria looked for the perfect moment to pounce on.

And unexpectedly it was the team in orange who earned the lead. An avoidable tackle by veteran defender David Alaba gave the Netherlands a spot-kick. Following a VAR review, Netherlands received an early Christmas gift. Depay looked straight into the eyes of the Austrian goalkeeper before comfortably slotting it home.



A trembling Dutch defence had a few nervous moments but Juventus defender Matthes De Light taped the backline together demolishing the Austrian dreams. Memphis and Wijnaldum had a few shots at the cherry but unfortunately failed to increase the advantage at half-time.


At the start of the second half, the Dutch team looked prepared to defend their lead. The intensity was heightened as the Dutch played with their foot to their floor. The evident reservation was gone, as the much-anticipated attacking creativity returned to the pitch.



A 67th-minute strike by Netherland’s Man-of-The-Tournament after two matches, Denzel Dumfries earned them three perfect points. With a seat at the knockout stages secure, Frank De Boer made some smart and crucial substitutions resting his A-grade players.


Austria never looked comfortable and a 2-0 defeat might end their qualification hopes. Although a win against Ukraine and the dreams of millions of Austrians would live to see another day.



The Dutch’s dominance reaped results when Frank De Boer’s troops were awarded a penalty. Controlling the midfield, maintaining great spells of possession, and being a brick wall in defence, Holland started the game perfectly. In the 10th minute of the game, an opportunity came knocking on Netherland’s door. Los Blanco’s star-signing, David Alaba committed an unnecessary foul on the edge of the box to give away a penalty to the home side.




The Austrian captain was bewildered by Dumfries’ lightning speed. The referee had a good look at the challenge and after a few minutes of consultation with VAR, gave a decision against Austria. With the goal gaping, Netherland’s talismanic striker Memphis Depay stepped up to take the spot-kick. Depay produced an outstanding performance against Ukraine but couldn’t register a goal under his belt.



Fortunately, he had the perfect moment to kick start his goal-scoring campaign. The Dutch striker has been heavily linked to a move to Barcelona and with Ronald Koeman present in the crowds, he could have impressed him with the perfect performance. The lion-hearted striker filled his tank and smashed a thunderous strike in the left corner to seal the deal for La Oranje. A delightful penalty and Austria’ net was rattled as the home team led 1-0.



Frank De Boer certainly has a Netherlands squad full of galacticos who have excelled in different teams in Europe. De Ligt is Juventus’ defensive rock, Memphis is Lyon’s striking sensation whereas De Jong rules the midfield in Spain. But one player who has outshone these veterans in the Dutch squad is PSV right-back Denzel Dumfries. Not the defender you would bet your money on but still, Dumfries defied all-odds to fabricate a match-winning performance for Netherlands against Ukraine and Austria.



Disciplined defensively, Dumfries commanded in Dutch’s opening fixture, totally ripping down Ukraine’s squad. Once again when the Austrian challenge came forward, Dumfries looked prepared for demolition. A headache for David Alaba’s backline Dumfries was caught sneaking in making some beautiful runs.



Earning a penalty in the 10th minute of the game, Dumfries drew a foul from an experienced David Alaba who didn’t miss the invite. And in the 67th minute, he more-or-less sealed a knockout berth for La Oranje as he smashed the ball into the back of the net. Donyell Malen crept in behind the defenders with just the keeper to beat. But the unselfish striker played an easy pass to a steaming Dumfries who had an empty net to aim at. Dumfries’ gigantic showing against Ukraine and Austria, showcased both he is at times an unbeatable talents and his evident limits, illustrating why he’s such a great prospect for the Netherlands.




The 1988 European Champions have found it tough galloping their way into the category of ‘Best Teams’ of this decade. A squad full of magicians, it seems the magical spell had been forgotten. But after years of revamping and re-start, the Dutch are back with full throttle. A 2-0 victory against the Burschen and a 3-2 bulldozing of Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine meant that La Oranje marched on to the knockout stages.




With the midfielders being instrumental in the victories, Dumfries demolishing rivals with his abilities, and De Ligt producing a magical performance against Austria the Dutch are prepared for battle. Memphis Depay has also registered himself on the scoresheet while PSG’s recent commander, Gini Wijnaldum might grant the Dutch fans their generational old wishes.





Although other than the optimistic Dutch fans the footballing world knows that the 2021 batch is nothing less than a shadow of the 1988 contingent. Van Dijk’s absence as De Boer’s centre-back has constantly put the Dutch defence under the scanner. Memphis Depay’s poor finishing abilities were on display against Austria. A team that should knock down Austria and Ukraine, are dropping nervy performances against the lower-ranked squads. They start well, demolish their rivals, but unfortunately lift the foot of the gas when the team needs to be glued together.





A 2-0 lead was thrown away in seconds against Ukraine, and if Dumfries wouldn’t have headed it home the story could have been different. Although Frank De Boer’s army has found the key to Round-of-16 and will look to prove their doubters wrong. If they turn out to be clinical in front of goal, stay compact, and stamp their authority, replicating the 1988 heroics won’t be troublesome.


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