Austria's Sarah Zadrazil on her side's Women's EURO prospects, her best friend and her pre-match rituals – interview
Sunday, July 3, 2022
"We are also friends off the pitch, and it's always cool to be with the national team," the Austria midfielder tells the official Women's EURO TikTok account.
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The Official Entertainment Platform of UEFA Women's EURO 2022, TikTok has been chatting to some of the top players ahead of the start of the tournament.
Bayern and Austria midfielder Sarah Zadrazil sat down with the @womensfootball team and talked over her side's opening game at Old Trafford, playing and training with her closest friend and her unusual pre-match ritual.
How is the mood in the Austria camp ahead of the opening game against England?
We are always super happy when we get together because we are also friends off the pitch, and it's always cool to be with the national team. Also, we have the opening game against England, so it's even more exciting because it will hopefully be a sold-out crowd at Old Trafford.
It's just amazing that we get to play in a stadium like this and in front of so many fans. Even though [the crowd] might be against us, or most of them will be, I'm still going to enjoy every moment and maybe it's even cool if we get to silence the crowd, if possible! That's something we're working for, but we know that England are an amazing team, and they are maybe one of the favourites to win the title this summer.
What should we expect from Austria at the finals?
I won't give too much away! But technically, I think we are very structured. We always have a good plan about our positions on the field. But what makes it different to 2017 is that we have good possession play now, so we know what to do with the ball. In 2017, it was more long balls and defending as well as we could to try and win the second ball. Now we also want to build up, keep the ball and play a bit more, which makes it really cool because that's what I prefer and what I know from club level.
England will do an amazing job in making this a big and really cool event – I think bigger than anything we've experienced or seen before. I just want to step out onto the pitch with my team and have no regrets. Leave everything out there and just show Austria and everyone what we are made of.
Who is your room-mate with Austria?
It would be Laura Feiersinger if everything were normal. She has been my room-mate since I was 16, I think. We played in the Under-17s, U19s and now in the senior team together so she's my best friend. That's also what football gives you: the chance to meet amazing people and have lifelong friendships.
She's kind of part of my family, and also her family is part of my family, and I'm just super glad that I have her. There is never a dull moment between us and we also kind of complete each other. We are not the same; we are a little bit different, but that's what makes us work so well together.
Have you got a Women's EURO Panini sticker book?
I do not, but my dad is like a little kid when it comes to stuff like this; he was super excited and ordered two boxes of the stickers and the book. He has completed the Austrian team but still has 15 stickers missing, so if you have some spare ones, hit me up! I'm sure my dad will be happy if he can complete his album.
Who was your favourite footballer growing up?
I had a few: I really liked David Beckham – I don't know if I liked him just because of his football. But my role model was always my brother because he used to play. He's three years older than me. I always wanted to be like him.
What are your pre-match rituals?
I always need a minute to myself in the changing room when I just try to calm down a little bit, and when I step onto the pitch I always hop onto the pitch with my left foot twice. No idea why, so don't ask me why – it's just something I've been doing forever.
What has been your happiest time with Austria so far?
The biggest thing was probably the semi-finals at the EUROs [in 2017]; that we made it to the semi-finals. The whole European Championship in 2017 was amazing. Like I said, we were the underdogs, went into the tournament with no expectations and then we just had a flow.
We just went from game to game – we had so much fun, we partied in between – and we ended up being in the semi-finals, which was absolutely amazing. I think we also changed the perspective of women's football in Austria, which was really important, and we hope we can achieve that again this year.