Euro 2024 Day 8 recap – France and Netherlands draw, Poland out

Euro 2024 Day 8 recap – France and Netherlands draw, Poland out

Day 8 was a day of firsts at Euro 2024. We’ve had our first goalless draw, and our first team to be eliminated from the competition.

The action started with an interesting match between Slovakia and Ukraine. The former went into half time 1-0 up, but were on the wrong end of a comeback as Mykola Shaparenko and Roman Yaremchuk netted for the Blue and Yellow to claim a vital three points.

This was followed by a meeting of Austria and Poland, with both sides off the back of defeats in their openers. Ralf Rangnick’s men were the victors, winning 3-1 thanks to goals by Gernot Trauner, Christoph Baumgartner and Marko Arnautovic. Results elsewhere ensured that the defeated White-Reds were knocked out, becoming the first team at the tournament to do so.

The final game of the day brought us our first 0-0 of the competition between Netherlands and France. For the Oranje, Xavi Simons had a goal controversially ruled out, while the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Adrien Rabiot squandered chances for Didier Deschamps’ side.

Standout Performer – Marcel Sabitzer

Of the six teams in action, Austria were by far the most impressive. In truth, there were several players from their team that could have been selected here.

Marcel Sabitzer put in a performance that reminded us all of why he’s managed to earn moves to some of the world’s biggest clubs. He put in a well-rounded display in the middle of the park, contributing heavily at both ends of the pitch.

He was energetic, combative, calm on the ball, and dangerous going forward. In the 77th minute, he drove forward from deep and went clean through on goal before being brought down by Wojciech Szczesny. Marko Arnautovic stepped up and tucked the penalty away to seal the win for Austria.

Poorest Player – Adrien Rabiot

Maybe this is a bit harsh – over the course of the three matches, there were probably a fair few players who performed worse than Adrien Rabiot. When it comes to decision-making, however, the Juventus man was outstandingly bad.

On two occasions in the first half, the 29-year-old had a chance to get a clean shot at goal, but bizarrely opted not to shoot. In his defence, the first opportunity came at a relatively tight angle, so his decision was somewhat understandable.

On the other hand, the second chance was an almost guaranteed goal, and his choice to try to pick out Antoine Griezmann instead made absolutely no sense. Perhaps he would have been forgiven had he not also made a complete mess of the pass.

During the latter stages, he found himself in another promising area, down the left with substitute Kingsley Coman unmarked in the middle. Unfortunately, his attempted cross was wayward.

The draw leaves France in second place in their group, while a winner would have secured top spot. Rabiot’s profligacy could prove costly in the knockout rounds.

Talking Point – Xavi Simons’ disallowed goal

It had been a fairly peaceful opening week, with not much focus on the referees. But inevitably, the officials have now become the centre of attention after a controversial incident in the clash between Netherlands and France.

Midway through the second half, Xavi Simons thought he had given his nation the lead when he drove a low strike into the bottom corner. The celebrations lasted just a few seconds, as the linesman raised his flag.

This wasn’t an ordinary offside – it was a rare occurrence of a ‘subjective offside’. Dutch full-back Denzel Dumfries was the one committing the infringement, having supposedly impeded goalkeeper Mike Maignan. While he was not in the eyeline of the AC Milan stopper, he was adjudged to have prevented him from making a proper attempt to dive for the ball.

Naturally, this decision has caused a major stir amongst the fans and media alike. Dumfries was definitely in an offside position, but was he really interfering? Would Maignan have realistically made the save if Dumfries wasn’t there?

But the biggest criticism from the incident wasn’t the decision itself, but the length of the VAR check. It was the longest of the tournament so far, which put a sudden halt to the speed of the game. This hadn’t been an issue at the competition until now.

Nobody wants to be talking about referees – we’d much rather focus on the players. Let’s hope this incident is a one-off.

Up Next

The second round of fixtures concludes today, starting with Georgia vs Czech Republic. Both sides lost their opening fixtures, and will be desperate to bounce back.

After that is a potentially exciting meeting between Turkey and Portugal. A point for either side almost secures their places in the knockouts, while a win would effectively guarantee top spot in the group.

Finally, matchday 2 ends with Belgium vs Romania. The latter cruised to an emphatic 3-0 win over Ukraine last time out, while the Red Devils fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat to Slovakia.