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Austria are yet to record a win in the European Championships, managing just two draws and four defeats in their two previous appearances in the competition – 2008 where they qualified as hosts and 2016 in France.
That hoodoo could be about to end, though, with Austria’s squad looking better than ever, propelled by some top-class German Bundesliga talents.
North Macedonia – Bucharest: Sunday, June 13, 5pm
Netherlands – Amsterdam: Thursday, June 17, 8pm
Ukraine – Bucharest: Monday, June 21, 5pm
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
They qualified second in their group behind Poland recording six wins, three defeats and a draw, scoring 19 goals and conceding nine.
Marko Arnautovic netted six times, with Austria winning four of their five home games, although did lose 0-1 to Poland.
It’s worth noting Macedonia and Austria were in the same qualifying section and share the same group at Euro 2020 too. Austria outclassed them on both occasions, winning 2-1 at home and 1-4 away.
Franco Foda. The 55-year-old German was appointed in 2017 and overseen 35 games with Austria. His record stands at 21 wins, five draws and nine defeats. Fun fact: Foda’s first international appearance away against Brazil was marked by a warm welcome and great applause from the home fans when the squads were announced and when he was later substituted on. Foda only found out the next day that this was due to his name translating to “free intercourse” in Portuguese.
Austria like to hit opponents on quick counter-attacks. A disciplined team with a strong German football philosophy, they have a crop of talented players that can cause trouble. Alexander Schlager looks set to start between the sticks, with Konrad Lainer and Andreas Ulmer as wing-backs.
Aleksandar Dragovic and the impressive Frankfurt star Martin Hinteregger look to have nailed down the centre-back spots, with one of the hits of the season, with captain Julian Baumgartlinger holding the midfield. Former West Ham man Arnautovic and Marcel Sabitzer will be the main attacking threats.
David Alaba. The man who is swapping Bayern Munich for Real Madrid this summer will without doubt be the main man. As the designated free kick taker, expect him to pepper the opposition goal with plenty of efforts.
ONE TO WATCH
Christoph Baumgartner. A very intelligent player, the 21-year-old became one of key players for Hoffenheim this season. Often compared to Michael Ballack for his playing style, he’s able to find
space in-between the lines, uses both feet, and is strong in one-on-one situations. Baumgartner runs well with the ball and makes late runs into the box to get a shot away.
Here’s all the key data on Austria’s squad.
- Squads and statistics correct at time of data sheet creation.
A fight with Ukraine for second in the group looks likely. The opening game against North Macedonia will be crucial for morale. Austria have no real expectations on them, so have the benefit of playing without pressure. We know how that can turn out… anyone remember Iceland?
Whatever price will be on Austria v Ukraine in the final group game, it will be worth backing Austria. A direct battle with Ukraine for a Round of 16 place looks likely and they have every chance of doing it.
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