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Friendly neighbours

Published: Friday 30 November 2007, 9.00CET looks back at some of the memorable moments, matches and men that have shaped the footballing history of Austria and Switzerland
Published: Friday 30 November 2007, 9.00CET

Friendly neighbours looks back at some of the memorable moments, matches and men that have shaped the footballing history of Austria and Switzerland

As Lucerne welcomes the 14 qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2008™ to Sunday's draw, looks back at some of the memorable moments, matches and men that have shaped the footballing history of co-hosts Austria and Switzerland.

"I'm going crazy"
"Tor, Tor, Tor, Tor, Tor, Tor, I wer' narrisch" – "Goal, goal, goal, goal, goal, goal, I'm going crazy," screamed Austrian commentator Edi Finger Sr after Hans Krankl's 88th-minute strike knocked rivals West Germany out of the 1978 FIFA World Cup. "And now it's ovveeerrr! The end! Finished! Over with! Germany are beaten, ladies and gentlemen. After 47 years, Austria have finally beaten Germany again," Finger declared at the final whistle, sending goose bumps down the spines of all Austrian fans back home.

Swiss legends
Roy Hodgson will always have a place in the heart of Swiss fans after ending a 28-year wait by guiding Switzerland back to the World Cup finals in 1994. Striker Stéphane Chapuisat was a key component of Hodgson's team that achieved Switzerland's greatest success of the past 50 years when they reached the last 16 in the United States. A UEFA Champions League winner with BV Borussia Dortmund, he retired from international football having scored 21 goals in 103 appearances, 13 goals behind Swtizerland's all-time leading scorer Kubilay Türkyilmaz and Xam Abegglen.

'Either all the way or completely'
"For me there is only either ... or. Either all the way – or completely." This quote from Toni Polster sums up Austria's record scorer. Between 1982 and 2000, Polster scored 44 goals in 95 games, passing the legendary Krankl as Austria's leading scorer. Polster was as popular off the pitch as on it, frequently courting publicity – most memorably as lead singer of the band Die Fabulösen Thekenschlampen (The Fabulous Barsluts). Singing obviously comes naturally to retired Austrian footballers: Krankl reached No2 in the Austrian charts with Lonely Boy in 1985.

Swiss Lock
Switzerland have only featured in two previous UEFA European Championships, in 1996 and 2004, but they could lay claim to being unofficial European champions in 1924 after finishing runners-up to Uruguay at the Olympic Games in Paris. They continued to enjoy success into the next decade, when they competed at the 1934 and 1938 World Cups, then again in the Fifties under Austrian coach Karl Rappan whose zonal defensive system won worldwide acclaim as the 'Swiss Lock'.

Wembley Toni
Few truly memorable moments touch a country's sporting consciousness. For Austrians, skier Franz Klammer winning Olympic gold at Innsbruck in 1976, Niki Lauda surviving his horrifying accident at the Nurburgring, Krankl's late winner against West Germany at the 1978 World Cup, and Toni Fritsch's two goals at Wembley in 1965. Sir Alf Ramsey's England would win the World Cup nine months later, but that October night in London it was Austria who played like champions, Fritsch scoring twice as the visitors recovered from 2-1 down to win 3-2. The legend of 'Wembley Toni' was born. One of those goals, a long-range screamer, set Fritsch up for future success in another sport. When the Dallas Cowboys came to Vienna looking for a specialist place-kicker in 1971, former Austria coach Leopold Stastny put Fritsch's name forward. Fritsch's famous right foot had set him on an unprecedented path that would lead to Super Bowl glory.

Das Wunderteam
Austria's heyday came in the Thirties when Hugo Meisl's Wunderteam swept all before them. They beat Germany 6-0 in Berlin, Switzerland 8-1 and Hungary 8-2, and inflicted a first defeat on European soil on Scotland, 5-0 in Vienna in May 1931. Matthias Sindelar, nicknamed Der Papierene, the Man of Paper, because he was so thin, was the team's star and led Austria to fourth place at the World Cup in 1934.

Austria 7 Switzerland 5
Austria would go one better at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland when a team including Ernst Happel beat world champions Uruguay in the third-place play-off. Austria's 7-5 defeat of Switzerland in the quarter-finals, though, was the most remarkable match of the tournament and is still the highest-scoring game in World Cup history. In 32 degree heat in Lausanne, Switzerland raced into a 3-0 lead within 20 minutes. With no substitutes allowed Austria goalkeeper Kurt Schmied was forced to play on despite suffering sunstroke but Austria battled back, scoring five times in the next 15 minutes to run away with the game.

Andres Herzog, known affectionately as 'Herzilien' (Sweetheart), is Austria's most capped player with 103 appearances. The country's most famous footballing figure, though, is the late, great Ernst Happel. Happel was capped 51 times by Austria but is best remembered for his successes as a coach abroad, lifting the European Champion Clubs' Cup with Feyenoord in 1970 and Hamburger SV in 1983, as well as taking the Netherlands to the 1978 World Cup final in Argentina.

Jakob Kuhn
Switzerland coach Kuhn was a skilful midfielder who won six league titles and five Swiss Cups over 16 years and 500 games with FC Zürich. Capped 63 times by Switzerland, he featured at the 1966 World Cup and also played twice in the semi-finals of the European Champion Clubs' Cup. After taking his country to UEFA EURO 2004™ and mounting a successful campaign at the 2006 World Cup, Kuhn will be looking to go out with a bang next summer. "I have promised my wife that I'll call it a day after UEFA EURO 2008™."

Last updated: 30/01/12 4.10CET

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