|To Win and Total Goals||Odds|
|Netherlands to Win and Over 2.5 Goals||+120
|Austria to Win and Over 2.5 Goals||+850
|Netherlands to Win and Under 2.5 Goals||+290
|Austria to Win and Under 2.5 Goals||+1000
|Back the Netherlands to win and over 2.5 goals to be scored. The Dutch looked sharp in attack but shaky at the back in their opening game, and this match could follow a similar pattern.|
|Netherlands vs Austria Information|
|Teams||Netherlands vs Austria|
|Location||Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands|
|Time||Thursday, 17 June 2021, 15.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN|
The Dutch fans inside the Johan Cruyff Arena on Sunday experienced a wide variety of emotions throughout the 90 minutes of their game against Ukraine. A goalless first half featured plenty of noteworthy incidents before the match exploded into life after the break. Frank de Boer’s side, playing in front of a partisan home crowd in Amsterdam, were in cruise control after going 2-0 up, only for Ukraine to deliver a pair of sucker-punches in quick succession.
At 2-2 it seemed like Andriy Shevchenko’s men had the initiative, and an astonishing comeback was not out of the question. Instead, the Netherlands dug deep and struck the winner through Denzel Dumfries, who had been a threat all night from right-wing-back. De Boer will have been pleased with many aspects of his team’s performance, but there was also a vulnerability to the Netherlands that could be exploited as the tournament goes on.
Despite that opening win, most Dutch soccer fans are continuing to call for De Boer to switch to a 4-3-3, the formation that has been associated with the nation for decades. The manager prefers a 3-5-2 system and is unlikely to heed the demands, particularly as the Netherlands emerged victorious last time out. Their three-man backline did not look particularly secure, but Memphis Depay did seem to benefit from having Wout Weghorst – a strong physical presence at 6ft 6in – alongside him upfront.
One thing that will have pleased De Boer was the tempo of the Netherlands’ play. He will stress the need for that to continue against Austria, with a focus on quick ball circulation and fast breaks down the flanks. He will also hope to have Juventus center-back Matthijs de Ligt available again after the highly-rated defender missed the Ukraine game due to injury.
Like the Netherlands, Austria also won their first match of Euro 2020 but did not have everything their own way. North Macedonia, tournament debutants and minnows, provided the opposition in Bucharest, and it was they who made the more confident start. Austria struggled to get a foothold in the game in the early stages, as North Macedonia pushed up the pitch and got on the ball.
Austria, the favorites, did belatedly take control of proceedings, but an error from goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann allowed North Macedonia’s talisman Goran Pandev to equalize after Stefan Lainer scored a delicious opener. A strong start to the second period yielded nothing in the way of goals until manager Franco Foda made two decisive substitutions, bringing on Marko Arnautovic and Michael Gregoritsch and shifting to a 3-5-2 formation.
It was those two players who scored Austria’s second and third goals, giving the nation their first-ever win at a European Championship. The cameo performances of Arnautovic and Gregoritsch will certainly give Foda food for thought as he turns his attention to the Netherlands.
The positioning of David Alaba is another thing to ponder. The soon-to-be Real Madrid man seemed wasted at the heart of a three-man defense, and it would surely make sense for Austria to get their most talented player higher up the pitch. Alaba and Marcel Sabitzer would be able to combine in the final third if the former was more advanced, and that would only aid Austria’s attacking efforts.
Group C looked to be among the most open of the tournament even before the action got underway, and Sunday’s matches did little to disprove that notion. All four teams still have designs on a place in the knockout phase, and victory for either the Netherlands or Austria here would guarantee them a spot in the last 16.
That is quite the incentive, and it should encourage entertaining, attack-minded displays from the two participants. Neither will take undue risks, of course, but the fact that three sides could progress from Group C acts as an insurance policy for the Dutch and the Austrians given they both already have three points in the bag.
Both teams had their defensive problems last time out, while also showing plenty of attacking potential. The Netherlands looked particularly bright going forward and will aim to take the game to Austria, who must ensure they offer a counter-attacking threat in the other direction.
The de facto home team will again benefit from the match being held in Amsterdam. That, together with the side’s superior individual quality, gives the Netherlands the edge. Austria should give them a good game, though, so back a Dutch win with more than 2.5 goals in total – just like we saw a few days ago against Ukraine.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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