Premier League

Turkey win battle of dark horses as Austria bow out of Euro 2024

Ferdi Kadioglu

Two goals from defender Merih Demiral helped Turkey win the battle of the Euro 2024 dark horses as they eliminated Austria in the last 16 on Tuesday night.

Former Juventus centre-back Demiral opened the scoring in the first minute at a drenched Leipzig Stadium by capitalising on some sleepy defending from a set-piece, slamming in after Patrick Pentz shovelled the ball off his line but back into the danger zone.

The 26-year-old, who had only scored two goals in his first 47 international appearances, doubled his tally just before the hour mark by rising highest to expertly flick in Arda Guler’s inch-perfect corner.

Vincenzo Montella’s side have now reached the last eight of a European Championship for the first time since 2008, when they went one round better before being eliminated by Germany in the semi-finals.

Ferdi Kadioglu

Turkey held on for a famous victory / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

Having impressed during the group stage by surprisingly topping Group D ahead of France and the Netherlands, Ralf Rangnick’s Austria were undone by a weak defensive rearguard but did give themselves hope of a comeback when Michael Gregoritsch arrived unmarked at the back post to convert Stefan Posch’s header.

However, no equaliser arrived – with goalkeeper Mert Gunok pulling off a world-class save in second-half stoppage time to keep his side’s lead intact – and instead it will be Turkey who take on the Netherlands in the final quarter-final on Saturday night.

The games between the final eight nations begin on Friday night when Spain battle hosts Germany before Portugal take on France. England continue their bid for glory against Switzerland before Turkey’s meeting with the Netherlands.


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