Euro round-up: Austria tops group D, uneventful evening in group C

June 26, 2024 - 11:17
While Group D saw goals galore and late dramas that left viewers gasping for air, Group C was dull and goalless and left viewers yawning.
Marko Arnautovic (7) and co. claimed a surprising victory and topped their group on Tuesday night. XINHUA/VNA Photo

Anh Đức

DORTMUND - Four matches happened in two groups on Tuesday in the European Championship, but brought contrasting vibes.

While Group D saw goals galore and late dramas that left viewers gasping for air, Group C was dull and goalless and left viewers yawning.

A 3-2 victory against the Netherlands propelled Austria to the top of group D, with France's draw against Poland relegating them to second place. Two 0-0 draws in Group C made the situation in the group unchanged, with all three teams at the top - England, Denmark and Slovenia advancing.

Austria 3-2 Netherlands: Rangnick's relentless dynamos

In a group with the World No.2 France and World No.7 Netherlands, few could have predicted Austria would get out of the groups in first place.

Even more doubt and pressure wer placed on Ralf Rangnick's men after their opening loss to France, but the 3-1 victory against Poland showed how this team can dominate play.

That unexpected dominance started right in the sixth minute, after a great counter from the left wing by the Austrians forced Donyell Malen to tap in his own net. Malen had a chance to redeem himself just minutes later, but his effort went disappointingly wide.

The Oranje found composure after the break and scored an early equaliser in the 47th minute with a powerful shot from Cody Gakpo, which clocked in at 107 kph. Austria reclaimed their lead just twelve minutes later, as Romano Schmid headed in his first international goal from a great cross by Florian Grillitsch.

In the 75th minute, Memphis Depay volleyed the ball into the back of Austria's net, but the referee initially disallowed the goal. After intervention from VAR, the goal was counted and Dutch fans roared in joy as this meant first place for them.

But just five minutes later, the Dutch went from Everest to the Mariana Trench. A rare mistake by Virgil van Dijk in the offside trap put Marcel Sabitzer through on goal, who beat Bart Verbruggen in the near corner with a vicious strike, securing the three points for the Austrians.

Kylian Mbappe returns to the starting line-up in a mask, but was not the hero saving the day for France. XINHUA/VNA Photo

France 1-1 Poland: Mbappe's gloomy return

Despite winning a match, the French have not scored in this tournament, with their only goal being an own goal. This fact alone showed why the French attack was so dismal, despite boasting star players such as Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud.

Poland, having already been eliminated before this match, was supposed to be France's nimble prey, however it did not play out in that scenario.

Despite holding on to most of the possession and making 19 shots, France struggled to get on the scoresheet for nearly an hour, having been repeatedly denied by an on-form keeper Lukasz Skorupski and his defence.

However, a clumsy challenge from Arsenal's Jakub Kiwior brought down Dembele in the box in the 56th minute and prompted the referee to quickly point at the spot.

Kylian Mbappe, who had never scored at the Euros in his career, stepped up and perfectly delivered the spot kick and became France's first goalscorer in this tournament.

Didier Deschamps brought in Eduardo Camavinga, Griezmann and Giroud to the field looking to further France's lead. More chances came but with that more disappointment. And Les Bleus paid for their wasteful display in the 76th minute, after Karol Swiderski was fouled by Dayot Upamecano inside the box.

Robert Lewandowski stepped up to take the spot kick, which was initially saved by Mike Maignan, however, VAR showed that the French keeper stepped up early and the kick has to be retaken. A confident Lewandowski put the ball in the lower left corner and equalised for Poland.

With these results, Austria topped group D with France in second place, while the Netherlands finished in third place and will be facing a tougher draw in the Round of 16.

Slovenia players celebrating with their fans on making the knockouts for the first time. XINHUA/VNA Photo

England 0-0 Slovenia & Denmark 0-0 Serbia: A dull night

In most parts of Asia, including Việt Nam, matches of the last round in Group C occurred at the least conventional time of 2 am.

And some fans would felt that they wasted ninety minutes of their precious sleep watching what would be even more boring than paint dry, in a group where beside England, all the remaining teams still have a chance to qualify. Some even said that the highlight clips made them sleepy, not to mention the match itself.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said: "If you build an army of one hundred lions and their leader is a dog, in any fight, the lions will die like a dog." This is a quote that many have used on social media to describe Gareth Southgate's England, which came under huge criticism for disappointing play, despite having the tournament's most expensive squad.

The Three Lions disappointed fans again with another dull display, this time even with changes made by Southgate to the squad.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was replaced by Conor Gallagher in the starting line-up, but even the Chelsea midfielder could not change the Three Lions' dismal play.

England's only memorable moment was a disallowed goal by Bukayo Saka, after a great combination play from Phil Foden and Declan Rice. Foden however, was deemed offside by the referee before crossing to Saka.

Gallagher was replaced by Kobbie Mainoo in the second half, with Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon and Alexander-Arnold further brought on but England could not find Jan Oblak's net and the match ended 0-0.

Elsewhere in Munich, Serbia needed to find a victory against Denmark should they want to qualify, with Denmark only needing a draw. Tennis GOAT Novak Djokovic even appeared in the stands to cheer on his national team, but was left disappointed.

Dragan Stojkovic, in a must-win match, bafflingly left strikers Dusan Vlahovic and Dusan Tadic on the bench, a decision that resulted in Serbia making only one shot at goal.

The experienced Denmark was understandably in control of the game and had chances went their way, but Predrag Rajkovic's talent kept Serbia in the match.

Djokovic cheered in joy at the 53rd minute mark as his team got the ball into Denmark's net after Joachim Andersen put the ball in his own net. However, the goal was disallowed after Luka Jovic was offside before making the cross into the box. The Serbs returned to their predictable route-one and wing plays in the latter part of the half, but Denmark stayed strong and the match ended goalless.

With these results, England progressed as group winners and will avoid the tougher top half of the bracket, while Denmark and Slovenia both progressed with three points from three draws, with a total of seven goals scored in six matches of the group.

Thank you Group C for tending to people's insomnia woes. VNS