EURO 2020 inside track: Austria
Tuesday, 8 June 2021
UEFA.com's Austria reporter Jordan Maciel is optimistic they can break their EURO duck and impress at the finals.
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Group C fixtures
13/06: Austria vs North Macedonia (Bucharest)
17/06: Netherlands vs Austria (Amsterdam)
21/06: Ukraine vs Austria (Bucharest)
Coach: Franco Foda
Captain: Julian Baumgartlinger/David Alaba
Nickname: Das Nationalteam (The National Team)
How they qualified: Group G runners-up (W6 D1 L3 F19 A9)
EURO best: Group stage (2008, 2016)
Where they could play their knockout games
Round of 16: London, Bucharest, Glasgow or Budapest
Quarter-final: Munich, Saint Petersburg, Rome or Baku
Final 26-man squad
Goalkeepers: Daniel Bachmann (Watford), Pavao Pervan (Wolfsburg), Alexander Schlager (LASK)
Defenders: David Alaba (Bayern), Aleksandar Dragović (Leverkusen), Marco Friedl (Werder Bremen), Martin Hinteregger (Frankfurt), Stefan Lainer (Mönchengladbach), Philipp Lienhart (Freiburg), Stefan Posch (Hoffenheim), Andreas Ulmer (Salzburg)
Midfielders: Julian Baumgartlinger (Leverkusen), Christoph Baumgartner (Hoffenheim), Florian Grillitsch (Hoffenheim), Stefan Ilsanker (Frankfurt), Konrad Laimer (Leipzig), Valentino Lazaro (Internazionale), Karim Onisiwo (Mainz), Marcel Sabitzer (Leipzig), Louis Schaub (Luzern), Xaver Schlager (Wolfsburg), Alessandro Schöpf (Schalke), Christopher Trimmel (Union Berlin)
Forwards: Marko Arnautović (Shanghai Port), Michael Gregoritsch (Augsburg), Sasa Kalajdzic (Stuttgart)
UEFA.com Austria team reporter: Jordan Maciel
Like Austria, I have never experienced the feeling of winning a UEFA EURO match, but I am hopeful of that changing for both of us during my debut reporting on the competition. Having grown accustomed to following the likes of David Alaba and Marcel Sabitzer into the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League in recent years, I am optimistic about Das Nationalteam's chances of reaching the knockout stage for the first time.
How they play
Franco Foda favours a defence-first approach, employing a double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but the versatility of star man Alaba gives the German coach the flexibility to switch between a four and five-man back line. Going forward, Austria will be spearheaded by one of two giants in the squad: Marko Arnautović (1.92m) or Sasa Kalajdzic (2.0m).
Key Player: David Alaba
Alaba recently left Bayern for Real Madrid as one of the most-decorated footballers in Bundesliga history and, at the ripe age of 28, he is just entering his peak. His versatility, wealth of experience and winning mentality is a blessing for his team-mates and coach.
Coach: Franco Foda
Capped twice by West Germany, Foda has spent much of his coaching career with Sturm Graz, winning the league and cup. He has been Austria boss since the start of 2018 and is statistically the most successful coach in Das Nationalteam history, having collected an average 2.03 points per game in his 33 competitive matches in charge.
One to watch: Konrad Laimer
Despite missing most of the 2020/21 season through injury, Laimer's energetic performance in the warm-up friendly against England showed he is ready for UEFA EURO 2020. Strong in the tackle and adept on the ball, the 24-year-old will act as a fulcrum in the heart of Austria's midfield.
Can they win it?
Winning the competition might be a stretch for a team that has never won a EURO match, but Foda has more than enough quality at his disposal to get out of the group – and that's the minimum expectation. Beyond that, anything can happen in knockout football, so who knows?