Paris (AFP) – Austria edged to a 1-0 win over Ukraine on Monday to beat their opponents to a spot in the last 16 of Euro 2020, while Denmark will try and snatch a knockout place despite losing their first two games.
Christoph Baumgartner’s 21st-minute goal proved enough for Austria to secure second place in Group C behind the Netherlands, who saw off North Macedonia 3-0 in a dead rubber in Amsterdam.
Austria will face Group A winners Italy at Wembley on Saturday for a quarter-final berth.
“We wanted to write history,” Austria coach Franco Foda told uefa.com.
“You could see the boys took that on board and showed from the first minute that we wanted to win the game. I’m very proud of my team.”
Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine, who suffered group-stage exits in 2012 and 2016, now face an anxious wait to see if their three points are enough to get them through as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Austria — who had never won a European Championship match until they beat North Macedonia in their opener — took the lead when Baumgartner beat 18-year-old defender Illia Zabarnyi to David Alaba’s corner and poked beyond Georgiy Bushchan.
Marko Arnautovic wasted an excellent chance to double the lead, while Ukraine came close to an equaliser when Mykola Shaparenko drew a good low save from Daniel Bachmann.
The other game in the group saw Dutch captain Georginio Wijnaldum score twice as the Netherlands made it three wins out of three.
Barcelona-bound Memphis Depay opened the scoring for Frank de Boer’s men in Amsterdam, who were pushed by their visitors, with the Macedonians seeing two goals disallowed and hitting the post.
The Netherlands will next face a third-placed team in Budapest on Sunday.
– Denmark bid to snatch last-16 spot –
Denmark host Russia later on Monday seeking to snatch a place in the next round.
The Danes’ opening 1-0 loss to Finland in Group B was overshadowed by Christian Eriksen’s mid-match collapse due to a cardiac arrest and they were defeated by Belgium in an emotional game during which fans and players showed their support for the midfielder.
But the 1992 European champions could snatch a top-two finish if they beat Russia and already-qualified Belgium win against Finland, with a crowd of up to 25,000 cheering them on in Copenhagen.
“We’re prepared to run out at the Parken and have a magical night… it’s like our Euro is starting right now,” said Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand.
“We’re not done. We had a difficult start and we’re going to start over now. We’re ready to get through the group and play more games.”
A win by two goals or more would be enough if Finland lose, as would any one-goal success other than 1-0.
“It would mean a lot… after everything that we’ve been through I think we deserve it,” said captain Simon Kjaer.
Inter Milan player Eriksen has left hospital after a successful operation to have a heart defibrillator fitted.
But Russia will be out to spoil the home team’s day, knowing just a point would be enough to finish second if Belgium win.
Roberto Martinez’s Belgians, the world’s top-ranked team, are not yet guaranteed a top-two finish, but a draw would see them through as group winners.
– Scotland’s Gilmour tests positive –
The Scottish Football Association announced on Monday that Chelsea midfielder Gilmour had tested positive for Covid-19, dealing a huge blow to Scotland’s hopes of making it beyond the group stages of a major tournament for the first time.
England pair Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount will also self-isolate after contact with their Chelsea teammate Gilmour and could miss England’s last group game against the Czech Republic.
Gilmour picked up the man-of-the-match award in Friday’s 0-0 draw with England at Wembley in his first international start.
But the 20-year-old will miss Tuesday’s clash against Croatia at Hampden with Scotland needing to win to have any chance of progressing to the last 16.
“The Scottish FA can confirm that a member of the Scotland national team playing squad, Billy Gilmour, has tested positive for Covid-19,” the Scottish FA said in a statement.
Spain captain Sergio Busquets was forced to self-isolate after a positive test earlier this month while Slovakia and Sweden have also been hit by positive tests.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Monday said he was against the semi-finals and final being held at Wembley as scheduled due to rising case numbers in England.
“I support ensuring that the final does not take place in a country where the risk of infection is of course very high,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
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