Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria lost their grip on a shock early 3-0 lead to go down to the Netherlands 4-3 in a thriller at Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna last night. The Euro 2008 Final venue saw the hosts take the lead after five minutes through captain Andreas Ivanschitz, before the lead was extended to 3-0 in the 36th with two virtually identical goals from Sebastian PrÃ¶dl, both coming from Ivanschitz corners.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar began the Dutch resurgence before the break, converting Robin van Persie’s corner with a header past Austrian goalkeeper Helge Payer. Still two goals behind, Dutch manager Marco van Basten saw room for change, bringing on Clarence Seedorf and Wilfred Bouma for Joris Mathijsen and Demy De Zeeuw. In the 67th minute Rafael van der Vaart left the Austrian defence bemused with a clever backheel which set John Heitinga up perfectly for an easy goal.
The Dutch, by this stage, were playing all over Austria, yet the 80th minute mark came and went with the visitors still trailing. Van Basten brought on Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink for Tim de Cler with 11 minutes remaining and he made an instant impact, levelling the scores with a clever volley off a high ball within 4 minutes of his introduction.
The visitors sealed the match in the 86th, Huntelaar driving the ball into the back of the net after being supplied by a Seedorf header, confirming their claims that they are genuine contenders for this summer’s European Championships.
Payer, Garics, Prodl, Pogatetz, Gergaliu, Ivanschitz, Leitgeb, Saumel, Fuchs (Weissenberger 76), Linz (Janko 65), Harnik (Stanfest 65). Unused subs: Macho, Manninger, Ertl, Hiden, Prager, Morz
Goals: Ivanschitz 5, Prodl 19, 36
Timmer, Ooijer, Heitinga, Mathijsen (Seedorf 46), De Cler (Vennegoor of Hesselink 80), De Jeeuw (Bouma 46), van Bronckhorst, van der Vaart (Babel 70), van Persie (De Jong 90), Huntelaar, Sneijder. Unused subs: Velthuizen, Melchiot, Landzaat, Emanuelsen
Goals: Huntelaar 38, 87, Heitinga 67, Vennegoor of Hesselink 83
Referee: Martin Hansson (Sweden)