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EURO 2020 review: Austria

Austria team reporter Jordan Maciel celebrates a squad that went deeper than before at a EURO, and nearly further still.

Austria came close to a round of 16 upset at Wembley
Austria came close to a round of 16 upset at Wembley POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Austria head home with their heads held high following an historic campaign. Not only did they celebrate their maiden EURO finals win, they also reached the knockout stage for the first time, where they truly came of age.

Despite the 2-1 round of 16 loss to Italy after extra time at Wembley, their courageous performance had fans dreaming of the impossible and restored faith in the national team.

What were the positives?

Alaba on historic Austria win
Alaba on historic Austria win

Coach Franco Foda has been criticised in the past for his rigid approach, but his tactical tweaking paid dividends at UEFA EURO 2020. The decision to play David Alaba in central defence against North Macedonia, followed by the more aggressive approach against Ukraine and the introduction of Florian Grillitsch to the midfield, all paid dividends.

Tournament highlight

After a tough group and nervy 90 minutes against Ukraine, watching the euphoric celebrations between Austria players and fans in Bucharest after reaching the round of 16 is one of those special football moments that will live long in the memory. That's what it's all about.

What the future holds

Grillitsch stars against Ukraine
Grillitsch stars against Ukraine

Austria's successful EURO campaign should give them the confidence to get back on track after a bumpy start to FIFA World Cup qualification. It will have been 24 years since their last appearance on the world stage by the time the tournament kicks off next November – there’s no reason for a team this good not to be there.

Predictions for the rest of EURO 2020

Germany will beat England again, Denmark will reach the semis and Cristiano Ronaldo will continue to break records. As far as the competition winners are concerned, I see only one team: Roberto Mancini's indestructible Italy.

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