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Hickersberger's faith pays off

Austria coach Josef Hickersberger was "99.9 per cent certain" that Ivica Vastic would convert the stoppage time spot-kick that kept Austria in UEFA EURO 2008™.

Josef Hickersberger and Leo Beenhakker watch on from the sidelines
Josef Hickersberger and Leo Beenhakker watch on from the sidelines ©Getty Images

Josef Hickersberger, Austria coach
We're all very happy that we finally managed to get the point. My team played very well, the way we intended to play. We wanted to show that we were courageous, full of energy, and that we wanted to dominate the match. We had three clear chances and should have taken the lead but unfortunately we didn't. And, as often happens in football, we then fell behind. In the second half we were as strong as in the first but we couldn't score, so I tried to bring on some substitutes to change things. We didn't do it the way we wanted to, we didn't want to score in that way really. But it's Austria's first-ever point in the EURO and we are pleased to have got it. We hadn't decided that Ivica Vastic would be our penalty taker in advance but when it was awarded, it was clear that Vastic would assume the responsibility because he is the most experienced player in the team. He has played in big tournaments – he was at the 1998 [FIFA] World Cup in France – and I was 99.9 per cent certain that he would score.

Leo Beenhakker, Poland coach
If you lose 2-0, like we did against Germany, then it's difficult to take but you can accept it; to suffer in this way is very tough to take. The only thing you can recognise is that you don't always get what you deserve in this game. Apart from the first 21 minutes, when our players seemed to have fallen asleep, we played a great game. My players woke up after a slow start. Then we scored a goal and we deserved to win. I still feel very bad. It was the only chance to survive and stay in the tournament. I understand that Austria are excited about the result but for the moment I feel very different. I think we are very probably out of the tournament and that hurts a lot. We know we have much to learn in this tournament and that there are a lot of areas where we can improve, but this hurts a lot and it was unnecessary.