Austria shrugged off the disappointment of having their UEFA EURO 2012 qualification hopes dashed by a goalless home draw against Turkey as they concentrated instead on the positives of a topsy-turvy campaign.
Starting with two wins and a draw in their first three matches, Austria had every right to believe they could at least finish second behind Germany in Group A. Yet four matches and four defeats later it was last chance saloon in Vienna as they took on Turkey seeking to pick up a handsome win and a head-to-head advantage over their visitors.
It was not to be, leading captain Christian Fuchs to tell UEFA.com: "We didn't lose the group today – we lost it in the previous games.
Tonight was certainly a step in the right direction as we gave a decent performance and were worth a draw."
Paul Scharner, deployed as a holding midfielder alongside Julian Baumgartlinger, added: "We can live with a 0-0. We haven't had many clean sheets recently so it was nice to get one tonight. We went for the ball as a team and we pressed like a team. We showed good combination football and closed down the space well."
Quizzed on the lack of clear-cut chances created, he said: "We didn't create as many chances as in other games but we have to take stock of the fact that even if we had taken more risks there were no guarantees we'd get the three goals we required."
Turkey went closest to victory in added time, when Arda Turan had a penalty saved before heading against the post. "I'm disappointed about my penalty miss, but I had to take the responsibility," he said. "I'm not happy with the result but I hope that we will finish second in this group. It will be a tight race to reach that goal however as we have two tough games to come."
Guus Hiddink's side are two points clear of third placed Belgium with home assignments against runaway group winners Germany and Azerbaijan to come, while the Red Devils entertain Kazakhstan before concluding in Dusseldorf. Midfielder Selçuk Şahin is confident of securing the play-off spot on offer, saying: "
The advantage is now firmly with us. I believe we only need to win one more match to secure second place in our group. That is our target."
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.