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Austria are ranked 21st in the world, and 12th best in Europe. The team is made up mainly of players from the Austrian and German Women’s Bundesligas. Although they started playing in 1970, the team only qualified for the its first-ever major international tournament at Euro 2017.
It was an impressive debut, as they topped their group and managed to make the semi-finals after beating Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals before losing on penalties to Denmark. Any sort of a similar achievement here would be deemed an excellent performance.
Our leading football trader Jason Murphy takes you through all you need to know…
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Manager – Irene Fuhrmann
Capped as a player, Fuhrmann’s coaching career has revolved around the national team with stints as assistant for the senior side and coach of the Under-19s, before eventually taking the top job in 2020. We expect to see a similar style of play as to what newly appointed Ralf Rangnick will try implement with the men’s team – press high with intensity and very hard working.
Captain – Carina Wenninger
The 31-year-old has played for Bayern Munich since 2007, usually as a centre-back and likewise for her national team. She has won multiple Bundesliga titles, including as recently as 2020/21. Wenninger played her 100th match for Austria in 2020 against Serbia so has plenty of experience to lead the team, but does not score too many with only a goal every 1,181 minutes in the Bundesliga since 2016.
Keeping things tight at the back will be her bigger priority against the firepower of England and Norway.
Star Player – Nicole Billa
Top scorer Euro 2022 and World Cup 2023 qualifying scoring 16 of Austria’s 62 goals (25%), Billa won the 2021 Footballer of the Year in Germany. Robert Lewandowski won the men’s equivalent that year and the Austrian attacker is considered to be just as cool and clinical in front of goal. Her 68 league goals in 9,179 minutes since 2016 for Hoffenheim is certainly impressive, equating to a goal every 135 minutes.
As a comparison, Sergio Aguero for his league minutes in England and Spain, managed a goal every 127 minutes. It’s also worth mentioning the goalkeeper, Manuela Zinsberger. She’s the Arsenal No.1 with an impressive 80% save percentage in the league last season.
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Now, I hate to be a party pooper but I know Austria would love to be and I think they could cause a real upset on opening night. England fans should note that host teams do not always start well and their opponents recently played England in World Cup qualifying in November at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and only lost 1-0 (Ellen White, 40 mins). Austria and Draw Double Chance vs England is the bet.
England v Austria
Wednesday 6th July, 8pm KO (Old Trafford, Manchester)
TV: BBC One & BBC iPlayer
Austria v Northern Ireland
Monday 11th July, 5pm KO (St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton)
TV: BBC One & BBC iPlayer
Austria v Norway
Friday 15th July, 8pm KO (Falmer Stadium, Brighton)
TV: BBC Three & BBC iPlayer
Goalkeepers: Isabella Kresche (St Polten), Jasmin Pal (FC Koln), Manuela Zinsberger (Arsenal).
Defenders: Celina Degen (FC Koln), Marina Georgieva (Sand), Verena Hanshaw (Eintracht Frankfurt), Katharina Naschenweng (Hoffenheim), Katharina Schiechtl (Werder Bremen), Viktoria Schnaderbeck (unattached), Carina Wenninger (Roma), Laura Wienroither (Arsenal).
Midfielders: Barbara Dunst (Eintracht Frankfurt), Jasmin Eder (St. Polten), Laura Feiersinger (Eintracht Frankfurt), Julia Hickelsberger (Hoffenheim), Marie-Therese Hobinger (Zurich), Maria Plattner (Turbine Potsdam), Sarah Puntigam (FC Koln), Sarah Zadrazil (Bayern Munich).
Forwards: Nicole Billa (Hoffenheim), Stefanie Enzinger (St Polten), Lisa Kolb (Freiburg), Lisa Makas (Austria Wien).
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