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Austria will seek to avoid an unwanted slice of history when they take on Poland in a Group B fixture where both sides risk potential early elimination from UEFA EURO 2008™.
• After losing 1-0 to Croatia on Sunday, Josef Hickersberger's co-hosts know another defeat would signal an early end to their hopes of progress should Germany and Croatia draw earlier in the day. Since Italy failed to reach the final in 1980, when one team progressed from each of the two groups, only one previous host team have suffered first-round elimination – Belgium in 2000 – and even then the Red Devils kept alive their hopes until the third and final group game.
• If Austria could consider themselves unfortunate to succumb to Luka Modrić's fourth-minute penalty in Vienna, Poland's defeat by Germany in Klagenfurt was more straightforward, Lukas Podolski scoring both goals as Leo Beenhakker's team went down 2-0.
• Poland sit bottom of Group B on goal difference but may take some encouragement from the fact Austria have not won a game in a major tournament since defeating the United States 2-1 in the first round of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. There is also the memory of their home-and-away victories against their opponents in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.
• The Poles were 3-1 winners at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion on 9 October 2004. In the process they inflicted on Austria the only home defeat of their qualifying campaign.
• Radosław Kałużny gave Poland a tenth-minute lead and although Markus Schopp drew Austria level on the half-hour, the visitors won the game through late goals from Jacek Krzynówek (78) and Tomas Frankowski (90).
• The teams in Vienna were:
Austria: Alexander Manninger, Joachim Standfest, Martin Stranzl, Martin Hiden, Emanuel Pogatetz, René Aufhaser (Markus Kiesenebner 46), Markus Schopp, Dietmar Kühbauer, Mario Haas (Roland Kollmann 38), Andreas Ivanschitz, Ivica Vastic (Christian Mayrleb 80).
Poland: Jerzy Dudek, Marcin Zajac (Kamil Kosowski 46), Tomasz Rząsa, Marcin Baszczyński, Radosław Kałużny (Arkadiusz Radomski 71), Jacek Bak, Tomasz Hajto, Jacek Krzynówek, Maciej Żurawski, Sebastian Mila, Grzegorz Rasiak (Tomas Frankowski 67).
• Poland subsequently completed the double against Austria with a 3-2 victory in Chorzow on 3 September 2005.
• Euzebiusz Smolarek, with his first international goal on 13 minutes, and Kamil Kosowski (22) put the Poles in charge early on and although Roland Linz narrowed the deficit (61), Maciej Żurawski replied six minutes later to ensure Linz's second strike in the 80th minute was in vain.
• The teams in Chorzow were:
Poland: Artur Boruc, Tomasz Kłos, Tomasz Rząsa, Marcin Baszczyński, Kamil Kosowski (Michał Żewłakow 87), Jacek Bąk, Radosław Sobolewski, Euzebiusz Smolarek (Sebastian Mila 72), Maciej Żurawski, Miroslav Szymkowiak (Arkadiusz Radomski 83), Grzegorz Rasiak.
Austria: Andreas Schranz, Mario Hieblinger, Martin Stranzl, Emanuel Pogatetz, Anton Ehmann (Sanel Kuljic 80), René Aufhaser, Markus Schopp (Markus Kiesenebner 80), Dietmar Kühbauer, Joachim Standfest (Roland Linz 46), Andreas Ivanschitz, Christian Mayrleb.
• Poland also won the teams' most recent friendly encounter on Austrian soil, 4-2 in Salzburg on 19 May 1992.
• Austria's most recent victory against Poland was a 4-3 friendly triumph in Katowice on 17 May 1994, where Peter Stöger struck a hat-trick for the visitors. They have not beaten Poland at home since a 2-1 friendly win in 1977.
• Overall Austria have won three and lost five of eight past matches against Poland. Their home record against the Poles is two wins and three defeats – including a 3-1 reverse when the countries' Olympic teams met in 1929.
• Poland coach Leo Beenhakker has suffered at the hands of Austrian opposition in the past. As AFC Ajax coach he saw his team beaten 4-0 on aggregate by FK Austria Wien in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round, albeit after the Austrian team were awarded a 3-0 second-leg victory following crowd trouble in the second leg in Amsterdam.
• By the end of that same season Beenhakker was preparing the Netherlands for the 1990 FIFA World Cup yet those preparations were dented by a 3-2 friendly defeat by Austria at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion on 30 May that year.
• Erwin Hoffer scored Austria's winning goal when they defeated tournament hosts Poland 1-0 in the group stage of the 2006 UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Poznan, en route to reaching the last four.
• Poland defender Bąk is a colleague of Austrian internationals Ronald Gercaliu and Standfest at Austria Wien.
• This is the 13th edition of the UEFA European Championship and the eighth edition that features a final tournament with a group phase.
• This is Austria's first appearance at a EURO final tournament. Their best performance in the UEFA European Championship came in the inaugural edition of 1960, played with a four-team finals format, where they reached the quarter-finals before losing 9-4 on aggregate to France.
• Three teams have won the UEFA European Championship as hosts. Spain and Italy triumphed in 1964 and 1968 respectively, when staging the semi-finals and final. France in 1984 became the only winners since a proper final tournament was established in 1980.
• This is also the first time Poland have reached the UEFA European Championship finals.
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