Austria draw has Greece in sight of semis
Thursday, 9 July 2015
Greece 0-0 Austria
The finals hosts need a point in their final Group A fixture to reach the semi-finals after holding Austria at bay in Larissa.
Article top media content
• Greece earn goalless draw with Austria to stay second in Group A
• Austria's Marko Kvasina hits post early on
• Hosts need one more point to progress; result takes France through
• Final fixtures on 12 July: France v Greece, Ukraine v Austria
Greece are a point away from the UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-finals after earning a goalless draw against Austria on a balmy night in Larissa.
Giannis Goumas opted to leave out Efthymis Koulouris, Petros Orfanidis and Stelios Pozoglou after the opening win against Ukraine, and his new-look side started positively. The first chance of the night duly went to Greece, Alkis Markopouliotis firing over after the ball had been worked from left to right.
Austria, however, then might have scored twice, Marko Kvasina striking the post with a fierce shot from the edge of the penalty area; Konstantinos Kotsaris was able to grab Daniel Ripic's follow-up effort. Then, from a corner, David Domej headed a deep cross back across the goal; Sascha Horvath took responsibility only to volley into the side-netting.
Greece were twice foiled by Alexander Schlager before half-time, the goalkeeper blocking a Panagiotis Kynigopoulos effort after the midfielder had latched on to a loose defensive header, and then punching away Paschalis Staikos' spectacular volley following a well-worked corner.
The hosts were themselves twice fortunate to escape before the break, however, Ripic lifting over when in space on the edge of the box before Kvasina finished wildly after Horvath had robbed Albert Roussos on halfway and advanced before unselfishly squaring.
Kvasina had another chance two minutes after half-time, shooting into Kotsaris' midriff after racing down the left, and the goalkeeper saved comfortably from substitute Tobias Pellegrini as well.
Austria continued to do more of the pressing, seeking the goal that would have brought them level with their opponents on three points, although they were nearly undone at the other end as Nikolas Vargas' 25-metre effort was clawed away by Schlager. The point nevertheless means another draw against Group A leaders France will take the 2007 and 2012 runners-up into the knockout rounds again.
Giannis Goumas, Greece coach
I'm really happy with the effort we put in. We came here to win but we didn't manage to do that. Other than that, the draw is fine for us. We'll give our best to win the next game and that would take us through. I'm really happy with the support we've had – it's an extra push for us to give our best. Both in Veria and here in Larissa we felt the crowd were like a 12th player. I'm sure that will be the case in Katerini as well and we can all celebrate reaching the semi-finals together.
Hermann Stadler, Austria coach
It was a really good game with opportunities at both ends. Maybe we had more opportunities but it's a disappointing result for us, of course. It's a bad night. We wanted more but we will fight to the end and not give up for the next game. Goalscoring is really our main problem in this tournament. Against France and Greece we've had about eight really big chances and not managed to score. In a tournament like this, if you don't take your opportunities you won't get far.