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A spectacular opening fixture in Amsterdam saw as many as five goals and a nail-biting finish to the game. The Netherlands looked high and dry at 2-0 in the 58th minute, but a late resurgence from an impressive Ukraine outfit saw them fight back to make things all square in the 79th minute.
However, those celebrations didn’t last long, with Denzel Dumfries scoring in the winner just six minutes later and giving the hosts a perfect start to their first major tournament in seven years.
Austria were tested for the most part of their fixture against North Macedonia and the final 3-1 scoreline certainly flattered them.
They were probably the better team on the day though, as David Alaba’s perfect cross proved the difference at the decisive moment of the game.
That result ends a run of three winless outings for the Austrians and certainly relieves some pressure on the players, but given they’ve gone W2-D4-L5 against the current top-45 in the world, they’ll have to be at the top of their game to come away with anything.
One factor we would take away from those matches, is that they’ve been level at the break in nine of the last 10 such unbeaten halves of football, going in goalless in eight.
HT Correct Score 0-0
Frank de Boer’s men have built a reputation as being slightly slow starters, even if they did have their chances in the first half against the Ukrainians.
They’ve now scored just two opening half goals from their last 16 matches against sides ranked inside the top 55 in the FIFA World Rankings, and we can’t help but think this could be a slow burner.
Both Teams To Score (No)
The other angle we like in this one is for one side or the other to fail to get on the scoreboard. That has occurred in seven of Austria’s last nine trips to opposition, as six saw a maximum of just one goal.
Moreover, looking at how the Dutch have done on home turf, they’ve won 11 of their last 14 and seen one side or the other fail to get on the scoreboard in nine of those.
Of course, the hosts have had some high scoring encounters this year, but we’re happy to go with the ‘BTTS (No)’ angle in what looks an incredibly tight fixture.