Demiral Leads Türkiye to Euro 2024 Quarter-Finals

Demiral Leads Türkiye to Euro 2024 Quarter-Finals
Demiral Leads Türkiye to Euro 2024 Quarter-Finals

Türkiye's Merih Demiral struck in each half to guide his team to a high-octane 2-1 victory over Austria and book their spot in Euro 2024's last eight.

The central defender scored after 57 seconds and then added another with a powerful header just before the hour mark to set up a quarter-final in Berlin against the Netherlands, who beat Romania 3-0 earlier.

For tournament dark horses Austria, who cut the deficit through Michael Gregoritsch midway through the second half, it was a bitter end to their European Championship with the team still waiting for their first win in a knockout match at any major tournament since 1954.

The Turks snatched the lead in a frantic start to the game when Demiral pounced on a goalmouth scramble to fire into the roof of the net for the fastest ever goal in a European Championship knockout match.

Türkiye were happy to leave possession to Austria, who beat them 6-1 back in March, but kept pressing high with a 5-4-1 system, and looked to catch them on the break, disrupting their opponents' usual no-frills playing style.

Despite missing suspended captain Hakan Calhanoglou, the Turks, semi-finalists at Euro 2008, kept Austria at bay, with Ralf Rangnick's side having no efforts on target in the first half.

The Austrians came out fighting after the break and should have leveled six minutes after the restart when captain Marko Arnautovic was sent through with only the keeper to beat but his shot was blocked by Mert Gunok.

Instead it was the Turks who struck again with Demiral beating two players in the air to head home for a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute.

Amid pouring rain, Austria pulled a goal back when substitute Gregoritsch finished at the far post in the 66th but despite late pressure and a golden chance for Christoph Baumgartner, who was denied by a superb save from Gunok in stoppage time, Rangnick's men could not find an equalizer.