Denzel Dumfries scored his second goal in as many Euro 2020 games as the Netherlands beat Austria 2-0 to qualify for the round of 16 as Group C winners.
The Oranje cruised through with a game to spare on Thursday after Memphis Depay opened the scoring at Johan Cruyff ArenA with an early penalty.
Dumfries opened his international account with a late winner in a 3-2 victory against Ukraine on Sunday and the impressive wing-back sealed all three points again in Amsterdam.
Frank de Boer’s side were a cut above a poor Austria side and will face one of the third-placed finishers at the Puskas Arena in Budapest a week on Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals.
Austria must regroup ahead of a final group game against Ukraine, with second place up for grabs.
The Oranje were in front just 11 minutes in, referee Orel Grinfeld pointing to the spot after taking a second look at David Alaba’s rash challenge on Dumfries. Depay found the bottom-left corner from 12 yards after a short run-up.
Austria were vulnerable under pressure from the Netherlands high press and Depay fired into the side-netting after a mistake from Austria captain Alaba.
Depay wasted a glorious chance to add a second goal five minutes before the break, prodding high and wide with his left foot from close range after Wout Weghorst unselfishly set him up.
Austria tried to pose more questions after the break, but the Netherlands remained much the better side and ought to have been two goals to the good just after the hour mark.
Weghorst’s header from a corner was nodded towards goal by Stefan de Vrij from point-blank range and Daniel Bachmann palmed into the path of the fit-again Matthijs de Ligt, who failed to convert the rebound.
The second goal finally arrived midway through the second half, though, Donyell Malen racing clear and drawing out Bachmann before setting up Dumfries for a tap-in.
Alaba flashed a venomous long-range drive wide and Karim Onisiwo should have done better with a header on an evening to forget for Austria.
What does it mean? Job done for Oranje
De Boer will be able to ring the changes for the final group game versus North Macedonia, who cannot qualify after suffering two defeats.
The Netherlands have scored at least two goals in nine consecutive games for the first time since 1935 and should have won this one by a more emphatic margin.
Austria must show a marked improvement against Ukraine and moving Alaba from the heart of their defence into a more advanced role, as he did in the second half, would be a positive move from Franco Foda. They will also welcome back striker Marko Arnautovic from a one-match ban.
Dumfries emulates Van Nistelrooy
Dumfries was the Netherlands’ hero in their opening game against Ukraine and the marauding wing-back stood out once again.
He won the penalty for Depay to tuck home and charged forward to wrap up the victory and become the joint-top scorer in the tournament.
The 25-year-old is only the second Dutchman to score in his first two appearances at a European Championship, a feat which Ruud van Nistelrooy also achieved.
Frustration for Alaba
Real Madrid new boy Alaba cut a frustrated figure as Austria were over-run.
He had no need to make such a poor challenge on Dumfries just inside the penalty area and looked uncharacteristically shaky in the first half.
Key Opta facts
– The Netherlands have opened their European Championship campaign with back-to-back wins for the third time, also doing so in 2000 as hosts – before being eliminated in the semi-final – and 2008, when they fell to Russia in the quarter-final.
– After losing each of their three group games at Euro 2012, the Netherlands are now unbeaten in nine matches at major tournaments (Euros and World Cup), the longest run by a European nation since Portugal went 12 without defeat across the 2014 and 2018 World Cups with Euro 2016 sandwiched between.
– Austria have suffered defeat in five of their eight matches at the European Championship – all of which have come in the group stages – whilst they failed to score in four of those defeats.
– De Ligt completed 100 per cent of his passes (40/40), a record for a Netherlands player in a European Championship match since 1980.
– Depay’s opening goal was his eighth for Netherlands since De Boer became coach in September 2020, with only Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku netting more across all competitions for a European nation over this period (10).
– Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg (38y 268d) is now the second-oldest goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in a European Championship, after Gabor Kiraly, who also kept one against Austria in 2016 (40y 74d).
– There was an age difference of 19 years and 236 days between Netherlands duo Stekelenburg and Ryan Gravenberch, the biggest age gap between two team-mates in a game in European Championship finals history.
– Including Depay’s spot-kick for Netherlands, three penalties were awarded across Thursday’s three Euros matches, the most in a single day in the competition since 1980.
Netherlands will face North Macedonia in Amsterdam on Monday, with Austria up against Ukraine in Bucharest.
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