Austria 1-2 Turkey: Merih Demiral double tees up Netherlands quarter-final at Euro 2024

At the double: Merih Demiral scored twice to send Turkey into the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 (AP)
At the double: Merih Demiral scored twice to send Turkey into the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 (AP)

Merih Demiral scored a brace and Mert Gunok delivered a stunning last-gasp save as Turkey ousted Austria to advance through to the quarter-finals at Euro 2024.

Former Juventus defender Demiral netted from corners after just 57 seconds - the fastest goal in the history of knockout football at the European Championship - and before the hour mark as Vincenzo Montella’s Group F runners-up reached the last eight of a major international tournament for the first time since 2008 in the Leipzig rain on Tuesday night.

Fancied Austria hit back in a thrilling contest through half-time substitute Michael Gregoritsch and dominated much of the second period, but ultimately could not replicate the sort of performance that saw them finish above both France and the Netherlands to surprisingly top a tough Group D.

It was only their third defeat of the Ralf Rangnick era so far and came just four months after Austria had demolished Turkey 6-1 in a heavily one-sided friendly beatdown in Vienna, with Christoph Baumgartner looking certain to force extra time with a header in the final seconds before being denied in incredible fashion by Turkish goalkeeper Gunok, whose stellar stop drew instant comparisons with England great Gordon Banks’ famous save to deny Brazil icon Pele at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

Turkey will now move on to play the Netherlands - who brushed aside Romania 3-0 earlier in Munich - in the final quarter-final tie at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on Saturday night, with the winner of that match then facing the victors of the England vs Switzerland tie for a place in the final on July 14.

For Austria, meanwhile, their long wait for a first major tournament quarter-final appearance since 1954 goes on, while both national associations may now face retrospective punishment from Uefa after corner-takers were pelted with plastic cups at both ends and Austria’s Marcel Sabitzer went down clutching his head after appearing to be struck by another item hurled from the stands in the second half.

Sublime save: Turkey had Mert Gunok to thank for somehow denying Christoph Baumgartner at the death (AFP via Getty Images)
Sublime save: Turkey had Mert Gunok to thank for somehow denying Christoph Baumgartner at the death (AFP via Getty Images)

Despite missing influential captain Hakan Calhanoglu due to suspension, Turkey thrived during a frenetic start to proceedings at Red Bull Arena, taking the lead with just 57 seconds on the clock after Austria made an absolute hash of trying to clear an early corner and Demiral duly made them pay by thundering into the roof of the net.

Stunned Austria, usually so organised under Rangnick, tried to respond swiftly, with Baumgartner - one of four players brought into the starting XI after last week’s shock win over the Netherlands - sending a low shot wide before failing to connect with a cross with the goal gaping as he collided painfully with the post.

Baumgartner also had another opportunity on the stroke of half-time as he prodded wide, while at the other end man-of-the-match Demiral had a chance to double his tally when the impressive Arda Guler delivered a corner to the front post but the ball bounced off his shoulder and wide.

Rangnick sent on both Alexander Prass and Gregoritsch at the break, with the latter quickly into the action as he fired wide with the flag up and then headed off target before Turkey were denied following a crucial close-range stop from Gunok to thwart Austria captain Marko Arnautovic.

Bayern Munich’s Konrad Laimer danced into the box as Austria upped their tempo and energy levels, but was slipping on the greasy surface as he too missed the target.

Turkey looked to have one foot in the quarter-finals after Demiral rose to head home another Guler corner just before the hour mark, but Austria hit back within seven minutes from a set-piece of their own as Sabitzer’s corner was flicked on by Stefan Posch and then crashed in at the back post by Gregoritsch.

Austria largely dominated in search of an equaliser to force extra time, but Turkey’s defence marshalled by the excellent Demiral and the returning Abdulkerim Bardakci stood firm as Baris Alper Yilmaz missed a couple of great chances to put the game to bed on the counter-attack ahead of Gunok’s extraordinary save from Baumgartner that will live long in the memory.

The only sour note on an otherwise famous night for Turkey were the yellow cards dished out to both Orkun Kokcu and Ismail Yuksek that will see both midfielders banned against the Netherlands.