One goal in each half in Amsterdam: Depay on a penalty and Dumfrey’s doubling guarantees Orange the top of Group C
“My wife isn’t happy at all to hear certain things they say about me.” Frank de Boer, the Netherlands coach, said it yesterday to make it clear what the atmosphere around him still was, despite the limited success against Ukraine in the Orange debut match at Euro 2020. But now, after the victory tonight, a 2-0 over Austria that projects Depay and teammates already in the second round and with the first place in the group, Mrs. Helen (who is also the mother of Beau, the promise of Dutch women’s handball) will be able to enjoy peaceful days. This Netherlands will not play like that of Rinus Michels, or Gullit and Van Basten, but they win the same and at times have fun, because while playing with the 3-5-2 which sometimes becomes a five-man defense when the opponents attack, they think above all about to play and not to suffer, and basically this is what his fans want. And he also has a long bench, which in a tournament like this doesn’t hurt.
In the Netherlands tonight, an Austria without its best striker, the former Inter player Arnautovic, and with his star Alaba today in a bad evening, could certainly not be frightened. Not only did it provoke the rigor with which the Dutch took the lead. Shortly after he replied, ‘reading’ wrong a lineout, with a mistake not from him that he was about to send Depay into goal. But the performance of the Austrians, certainly not exciting, will certainly have aroused the interest of Roberto Mancini, because it could be the selection of the coach, Franco Foda, Italy’s rival in the quarter-finals. In fact, if Italy, as everything leads us to believe (a draw with Wales is enough), wins its group, then it will find the second in group B, and in this sense it will be decisive next Monday’s match in Bucharest between the Austrians and the ‘Ukraine. The team of the technical duo Andryi Shevchenko and Mauro Tassotti is on par with that of Foda, and has the same goal difference (4-4 vs 3-3), so with a draw she would be second thanks to the higher number of goals scored. It will therefore be interesting to see if in Ukraine-Austria they will play more to win or to avoid this Italy which for now makes the opponents dream and embarrasses them.
Meanwhile, at the Johan Cruijff Arena, the Netherlands won with one goal per half. The first at 12 ‘: an intervention by Alaba on full-back-winger Dumfries, also today a great protagonist, provokes the maximum punishment, which Depay executes perfectly, not giving Bachmann a chance. The doubling of the Netherlands comes with Dumfries at 22 ‘st. Nice action by Depay who wins a tackle in midfield and launches Malen on the counterattack, who took over from Weghorst. The PSV striker decides not to finish in goal and to serve the right winger who arrives in the race and only has to support the net: for him the second goal in the European Championships, and orange fans in jubilation. And among the positive notes of the evening we must also put the monumental performance of the recovered De Ligt, master of the defense together with De Vrij (the two, as a couple, also ‘ate’ a big chance from the goal). Then perhaps it is true: de Boer can feel more comfortable, and with him Mrs Helen.
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