5 teams managed to score 3 goals on Matchday 1, and two of those teams are set to face each other on Thursday night as the Netherlands will go up against Austria in a match that could determine the top spot in their group.
While the Netherlands snuck in a 3-2 win against Ukraine, Austria put away North Macedonia comfortably with a 3-1 scoreline. While both teams were expected to win those games, it will be a tricky affair when the two face each other in Matchday 2 of the UEFA Euro 2020.
NETHERLANDS COULD SHOW THEIR STRENGTH IN DEPTH AGAINST AUSTRIA:
The Netherlands were incredibly potent against Ukraine as they contributed to goals from all areas of the pitch, with Wijnaldum (CM), Weghorst (ST), and Dumfries (RWB) all scoring on the day. If that was not enough, they were creating enough chances from the central midfield itself while they were repeatedly using their wing-backs to cross the ball in. This fluid play ensured that the Netherlands would outscore Ukraine comfortably.
What also helped in the latter stages of the game was the kind of players the Netherlands were able to bring on as Donyell Malen, Joel Veltman and Owen Winjdal all came on to ensure the victory for the Dutch. This strength in depth proved crucial as they scored the winning goal only after Winjdal came on in the form of fresh legs. To add to this, Memphis Depay did not have a good outing and yet the Netherlands were able to secure a win over decent opposition. This talked about the level of squad Dutch manager Frank de Boer has in his hands and how much better the team could get if they managed to get a clean sheet.
While Daley Blind, Timber, and Stefan de Vrij were good on the night, they still conceded 2 goals, and it showed how much they missed the Matthijs de Ligt, not to mention the injured Van Dijk. However, the positive on the night was the way Frenkie de Jong managed the game from midfield and dominated the proceedings.
Frank de Boer will want more of the same when they face Austria as they are a hard team to open up. De Jong’s creativity coupled with Wijnaldum’s probing runs could be the difference on Thursday night, while Memphis Depay will also want to get his goal-tally started at this tournament.
Netherlands Injury News vs Austria:
Matthijs de Ligt, who was unavailable against Ukraine due to a groin injury will be back in the starting lineup to face Austria in the Matchday 2 game of the Dutch.
Netherlands Player to Watch out for vs Austria:
Frenkie de Jong could run over the Austrian midfield as Martin de Roon and Wijnaldum provide enough cover at the back while they are also great going ahead. This allows Frenkie de Jong to run the game at its own pace and keep the ball from Austria for long periods. De Jong’s creativity could also create several chances for the frontline, as he did so against Ukraine in their first match of the tournament.
COULD AUSTRIA PROVE TO BE DARK HORSES BY DEFEATING THE NETHERLANDS:
While Austria proved themselves in the qualifying rounds of the European Championship, they delivered a statement performance against North Macedonia, who albeit one of the ‘lesser’ teams is an able opposition.
Marcel Sabitzer, Baumgartner, Laimer have been exciting talents during Austria’s journey to the Euros, while David Alaba has remained as brilliant as ever over the last decade. Austria also had the option of bringing Marko Arnautovic on, who is an excellent player off the bench.
Thus, Austria’s quality is proven, and they have shown that they can at least compete toe to toe with the bigger teams if not beat them. Their defence also contains the likes of Dragovic and Hinteregger, who are solid centre-backs and can surely keep out the Netherlands if they perform as they did against North Macedonia.
Austria’s 4-4-1-1 formation provides them the flexibility of covering all areas of the pitch, while it also lets Marcel Sabitzer in empty spaces upfront, which enables the Leipzig man to create plenty of chances, something he is very good at. The formation also lets David Alaba play in his left-wing role from where he can attack and make probing runs behind the opposition right-back. Alaba and Baumgartner are both excellent crossers of the ball, and this is a quality they will use against the Netherlands due to their striker, Sasa Kalajdzic’s 6’6 stature and his goal-scoring prowess in the air.
Austria will be keen on proving that they can defeat the best of the best, and should they manage to do so, they will be considered dark horses at this year’s tournament.
Austria Injury news vs Netherlands:
Marko Arnautovic will be unavailable for the game against the Netherlands due to a one-match suspension he received after offending a North Macedonian opponent with his celebration.
Austria Player to Watch out for vs Netherlands:
Marcel Sabitzer is the most dangerous asset Austria have in their armour, and should the RB Leipzig man be on his game on Thursday night, he could rip apart the Dutch defence to pieces.
Austria XI: Alexander Schlager ; Aleksandr Dragovic, Martin Hinteregger, Andreas Ulmer, Stefan Lainer; David Alaba, Xaver Schlager, Christopher Baumgartner, Konrad Laimer; Marcel Sabitzer; Sasa Kalajdzic.
Netherlands XI : Martin Stekelenburg; Owen Wijndal, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij, Daley Blind, Denzel Dumfries; Frenkie de Jong, Davy Klassen, Georginio Wijnaldum; Memphis Depay, Wout Weghorst.