Euro 2024: Austria stuns the Netherlands to finish top of Group D ahead of France

Austria earned a stunning 3-2 win over the Netherlands at Euro 2024 to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition top of Group D after France drew 1-1 with Poland.

It’s the first time in history that Austria has finished top of its group at the European Championship, while the Netherlands also book their place in the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Donyell Malen’s own goal gave Austria a deserved lead after just six minutes, only for Cody Gakpo to level the score two minutes into the second half.

Romano Schmid’s header restored the lead for Ralf Rangnick’s men just 12 minutes later, but the Oranje bounced back again thanks to Memphis Depay’s brilliant improvised finish.

However, Austria was relentless and eventually got what proved to be the winning goal as Marcel Sabitzer broke through the Dutch defense and finished smartly high into the roof of the net just 10 minutes from time.

France, meanwhile, took the lead over Poland 10 minutes into the second half thanks to Kylian Mbappé’s penalty – the French superstar’s first ever European Championship goal.

Poland was given the chance to equalize with a penalty of its own 10 minutes from time after a video assistant referee (VAR) review, but Robert Lewandowski saw his penalty saved by Mike Maignan.

However, VAR intervened again and ruled Maignan had moved off his line, allowing the Barça forward to score at the second attempt.

The draw means France enters what is widely considered the more difficult half of the knockout bracket, alongside Spain, Germany and Portugal.

Mbappé put France ahead from the penalty spot. - Leon Kuegeler/Reuters
Mbappé put France ahead from the penalty spot. - Leon Kuegeler/Reuters

Dutch despair

The Netherlands were unconvincing in their opening two group games, a late 2-1 win over Poland and a stale 0-0 draw with France.

After narrowly losing 1-0 to France in its opener, a much-improved Austria overwhelmed Poland with its high intensity, fast-paced soccer in game two and did so again to the Netherlands in the opening minutes of Tuesday’s match.

Austria was rewarded for their bright start with a goal after just five minutes when Netherlands winger Malen turned the ball into his own net as he tried to cut out Marko Arnautović’s cross.

So dominant had Rangnick’s men been in the opening 20 minutes, that fans started early with chants of “Olé” every time the team passed the ball.

It was proving to be an enjoyable afternoon in the Berlin sun for Austria fans – less so for Malen.

The Dortmund forward squandered a brilliant opportunity to make amends for his own goal but scuffed his effort wide of the post when clean through on goal.

Arnautović should have doubled Austria’s lead 10 minutes before half-time when Sabitzer’s cross fortuitously ended up at his feet, but the Inter Milan forward failed to even make contact with the ball.

Gakpo got the Netherlands off to a fast start in the second half. - John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images
Gakpo got the Netherlands off to a fast start in the second half. - John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

Austria had apparently taken a shellshocked Oranje by surprise with its fast start and was passing the ball around with ease for long periods.

Whatever manager Ronald Koeman, who looked frustrated throughout the first period, said to his players at the break had the desired effect.

The Netherlands began the second half like a different team entirely and leveled the scoreline just moments after the restart as Gakpo brilliantly finished off a blistering counterattack, cutting onto his right foot and bending the ball into the far corner.

But the Dutch delight was short lived – 12 minutes to be exact – as Schmid got on the end of Florian Grillitsch’s cross with a diving header to restore Austria’s lead.

Koeman opted to bring on super-sub Wout Weghorst, who saved the Oranje with a late winner over Poland and also with an equalizer against Argentina in the 2022 World Cup.

His presence had an almost immediate impact, heading the ball down to Depay who took the ball brilliantly on his thigh and torso before volleying acrobatically past keeper Patrick Pentz.

Sabitzer celebrates his winning goal. - Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
Sabitzer celebrates his winning goal. - Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

But again the Dutch traded joy for despair, this time after only five minutes. The entire Dutch defense allowed Austria captain Sabitzer to roam freely into the box and fire the ball over Bart Verbruggen.

Following the huge win, Austria’s entire squad and backroom staff lined up arm-in-arm in front of thousands of fans inside the Olympiastadion, sharing the historic moment together.

But while the Austrians will be riding high going into the knockout stages, Koeman and his Netherlands team have plenty of questions to answer.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at