Saturday, July 13, 2024

Rangnick disappointed by set-piece frailties but lauds entertaining Austria in Euro 2024 exit

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Jul 2024

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Ralf Rangnick expressed frustration at aspects of Austria’s defensive showing but lauded their entertainment factor after the exit at Euro 2024, where other games have been “difficult to stay awake for”.

Austria topped Group D ahead of France and the Netherlands but were exposed from two corners in their last-16 defeat against Turkiye, who triumphed 2-1 in Leipzig on Tuesday.

Merih Demiral capitalised just 57 seconds into the encounter after Arda Guler’s set-piece caused carnage, before the same combination provided another telling blow in the second half.

Austria have now fallen at the first knockout stage in back-to-back editions of the Euros, though Rangnick was far from displeased with his battling side.

“We didn’t have the necessary luck,” the Austria manager told reporters. “I believe if the game had gone to extra time we would have had a chance to win, the Turks were fairly exhausted towards the end, but we had a physical advantage.”

“We didn’t score enough goals, not enough chances and the set pieces, we didn’t defend well. For the second goal, we had three players very good at headers, but Demiral still scored, and if you’re two goals behind, it’s not easy.

“The four games we played were very entertaining, including today’s game. Not everything was accurate, we could have played a few passes better.

“Four entertaining games, super intense – I saw games that were difficult to stay awake for, but that is not the case with us.”

Austria recorded an expected goals figure of 2.7 against Turkiye, the most by a team that failed to progress from the Euros knockouts since France against Switzerland in the 2020 round of 16 (3.1).

That entertainment cited by Rangnick was clear to see as Austria were thwarted by Mert Gunok’s eye-catching stop in the last minute from Christoph Baumgartner’s downward header.

“We are very happy, it is difficult to find words right now,” Turkiye’s goalkeeping hero Gunok said after his country progressed to the last eight of a major tournament for the first time in 16 years.

“It was a great win, I thank everyone who supported us, I thank our supporters, people and citizens who continued to support us and prayed for us.

“We still have a long way to go, if it’s God’s will we will go to the very end. We believe this. This win took us to the next level in terms of morale and confidence.”

Demiral was the hero at the other end, becoming the first defender to score twice in a game at a major tournament (World Cup/Euros) since John Stones for England versus Panama at the 2018 World Cup.

“I would like to first say this – how happy is the one who says I am a Turk? We experienced incredible moments thanks to our supporters,” centre-back Demiral added.

Vincenzo Montella will hope that the Turkish pair can deliver once more when they meet the Netherlands, who overcame Romania 3-0 on Tuesday, in the last eight in Berlin on Saturday.

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