Wednesday , July 24 2024

Euro round up: Turkey set up Euros quarter-final with Dutch

This was Euro 2024’s dark-horse showdown between two sides that caused many surprises this year.

Merih Demiral rises above the Austrian defence to head home on of his two goals for Turkey. AFP/VNA Photo

By Xuân Đăng

Turkey will face the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 after winning a thriller with Austria 2-1.

Austria – Turkey: Merih Demiral’s double sends Turkey into quarter final

This was Euro 2024’s dark-horse showdown between two sides that caused many surprises this year.

Austria made four changes to the eleven that started the 3-2 win over the Netherlands, bringing in Kevin Danso, Phillipp Mwene, Christoph Baumgartner and Konrad Laimer.

Turkey made three changes to their starting line-up. Orkun Kökçü, Abdülkerim Bardakcı and Kaan Ayhan were in, Salih Özcan dropped to the bench and both Samet Akaydin and captain Hakan Çalhanoğlu suspended.

The Al-Ahli centre-back, Merih Demiral smashed home after just 58 seconds from the corner kick from the right by Arda Guler.

It was the second-fastest goal ever at the Euros — Albania scored after 23 seconds against Italy in the group stage.

Demiral got his second of the game when the defender powered a header home shortly before the hour mark.

Demiral became the first European defender to score twice in the knockout stages of a major tournament since Lilian Thuram for France at the 1998 World Cup.

Austria cut the deficit through substitute Michael Gregoritsch at the far post in the 66th minute and they reached a total of 20 attempts on goal as they kept pushing forward in search of an equaliser.

Goalkeeper Mert Gunok of Turkey pulled off one of the saves of tournament as he showed great reflexes and agility, diving to his right to palm away a close-range header from Christoph Baumgartner four minutes into added time.

A fully deserved victory for Turkey, though Austria gave it their all too, contributing to a copper-bottomed classic.

“I cannot imagine we are going home. We thought we would continue our journey here and get ready for the next few games and the players feel the same,” said Austria manager Ralf Rangnick.

“That’s how it works with knockout games, one team progresses and the other doesn’t. Of course disappointment is the main sentiment.”

Netherlands forward Donyell Malen celebrates scoring against Romania. AFP/VNA Photo

Netherlands – Romania: Dutch outclass Romania

Netherlands emerged from defeat in their last group game to give a vivid display of their potential on Tuesday in outclassing Romania and booking a quarter-final place at the European Championship.

Cody Gakpo gave the Dutch an early lead with a fine strike, beating Florin Nita at his near post.

The goalkeeper left a small gap between himself and his near post as Gakpo cut inside Andre Ratiu and the Dutch winger took full advantage.

Gakpo thought he had scored a second in the 60th minute, but VAR ruled out the goal.

The Romanians struggled without left-back ­Nicosur Bancu was ­unavailable through ­suspension. The Dutch chose to target that spot again and again. Coach Edward Iordanescu, with his team under ­pressure, chose to reshape his defence before half-time, but with little effect

Holland’s Ronald Koeman doubled down on exposing the left-back black spot, replacing Steven Bergwijn – who had played just fine but was carrying and injury – with Donyell Malen and his lightning pace at the break.

Although they controlled most of the game time, the Netherland were unable to convert pressure into a crucial second goal until Gakpo set up Malen with seven minutes remaining in Munich.

Gakpo dribbled along the byline, with Radu Dragusin in pursuit. The defender thought the ball went out of play and relaxed slightly, but it hadn’t. Gakpo pulled it back to Malen and the striker put the ball into the net.

In the last minute, Malen on the ball again, dribbling past two chasing defenders on the edge of the Romania penalty area and pulled a low shot into the bottom left-hand corner.

The Netherlands advanced to the quarter-finals, while Romania went home. It was an emphatic win for the Dutch in the end but they were still sweating as the game entered its final seven minutes, just before they scored their second goal.

Goal scorer Gakpo said after the match: “We played a good game and showed a good reaction from the last one. We are very pleased. We needed a reaction and this was a step in the right direction. We talked a lot about aggression and intensity. The physio told me last night I would score and I ran over to him. Happy I could assist Donny with his goal, and a good game overall.” VNS

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