Hope and history boost Austria's Horvath

Austria go into their final Group A fixture with only a slender chance of reaching the semi-finals, but where there is a will there is a way, says their midfielder Sascha Horvath.

Austria's Sascha Horvath reacts against Greece
Austria's Sascha Horvath reacts against Greece ©Sportsfile

It is said that hope dies last and in the case of Austria, that could not be more apt a phrase as they prepare to face Ukraine in their final group game at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, which is not necessarily going to be their last in Greece.

Austria's destiny is out of their own hands after defeat against France was followed by a 0-0 draw against the hosts, but there is substantial reason to remain optimistic. Hermann Stadler's team booked their place in Greece despite losing their opening elite round group game 2-1 to Scotland. Wins against Croatia and Italy took them through, thanks to the winless Croatia holding Scotland in their final match.

Sascha Horvath scored that qualification-clinching goal in the 79th minute against the Italians and that inspires his belief there might be a repeat on Sunday. "Definitely we can do it again," the midfielder told UEFA.com.

Highlights: Greece 0-0 Austria
Highlights: Greece 0-0 Austria

"We've proven time and time again that despite having difficult phases to start with, we can still make it, and we want to prove that we can go through again. I certainly hope so and if luck's on our side, we can do it."

Now like then, Austria's fate will depend on the outcome of the group's other final fixture. For Austria to reach the semi-finals, they must beat Ukraine and hope France defeat Greece. They then also need a substantial swing in goal difference to get their noses in front of the hosts.

It has been a frustrating tournament for Sascha Horvath and Austria
It has been a frustrating tournament for Sascha Horvath and Austria©Sportsfile

"We're not going to give up now," added Horvath, whose confidence is spurred by his side's hitherto unrewarded strong performances in Greece. "All we've been lacking is a goal, and maybe also a bit of luck. It's a shame because we just should have taken our chances."

Rather than dwelling on the many near misses, Horvath and his team-mates are going to crank things up. They refuse to let their heads drop. "We're probably going to play a bit of music," he said. "We'll get the music going to lift our spirits again, maybe play a few games and then regain our self-confidence back on the field.

"Then we'll aim to beat Ukraine and we've got to hope that we have a bit of luck too." Hope springs eternal in the Austria camp.

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