Tag: Austria

Austria 0-1 Croatia

Some tournaments are feel-good tournaments, and some aren’t. I’m starting to get the feeling that Euro 2008 isn’t going to be one of these. In the opening match yesterday, Switzerland pressed and pressed the Czechs, but were unable to find a way through their massed defence. Earlier this evening a feeling of deflation fell over Vienna as Austria were narrowly beaten by a Croatia team that scant deserved all three of the points from an entertaining match in which they were often the second best team. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that scarcely twenty-four hours into the competition, both of the host nations sit on the brink of being eliminated from the tournament, and such an elimination may prove to be damaging to interest levels later on. It looked, at the start of the match, as if it was going to be a stroll in the park for Croatia. Just four minutes had been played when Rene Aufhauser clumsily clattered into Ivila Ovic, and Spurs’ new signing put the penalty away, although even the penalty was dangerously close to goalkeeper Jurgen Macho, even though he was diving away from the ball. After that, Croatia dominated the early stages of the match, and had several chances to kill the game off for good, most notably when Mladen Petric shot over the crossbar with a first time shot when...

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Euro 2008 – Group B

Otherwise known as “The Group Of Internecine Rivalries” (by me at least), Group B is the group that probably offers the greatest chance of a host nation getting thrashed out of sight that you’ll ever see at the European Championships and, as if that wasn’t enough, the tournament favourites. Anyway, here’s the low-down on The Group Of Schnitzel (I just thought that up, in case you were wondering). Austria – What Are Expectations Like? Not high and, as with co-hosts Switzerland, there was a noisy campaign for them to resign their place before the the competition started. Indeed, this Austrian team might just be the worst ever to play in the finals of the European Championships. The thirty-one man training squad released last month by coach Josef Hickersberger had scored just 46 goals between them, and with just 8 goals scored by the six selected strikers. The best that they can realistically hope for is to not get thrashed out of sight in all three group matches. How Did Their Qualifying Campaign Go? They qualified automatically as hosts, and it’s a good job. They’re currently in 101st place in the FIFA rankings, sandwiched neatly between Algeria and Tanzania, and considerably below fellow Europeans such as Latvia, Iceland and Cyprus. What’s The Coach Like? Hickersberger was the coach of the Austrian team between 1987 and 1990, and qualified them for...

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Austria vs England

As a rule, I quite like international football. I’m not as much of a fan of it as I used to be, but I still quite like it, and find myself more than happy to watch two international teams play each other, whatever the circumstances may be. There comes a point, however, where you have to draw a line in the sand, and it is Austria vs England. This match, without a shadow of doubt, is the single most pointless match ever played in the entire history of the game? How did this match manage to get scheduled? Are the FA so monstrously egotistical that they thought that England would already be home and dry by tonight? Did they think that just what the whole England squad needs is a trip to Mittel Europa to play one of Europe’s most hapless teams? Anybody with the slightest interest in football has to look at this weekend and simply know that the big match of the weekend doesn’t even involve England. Everybody’s minds (including, I’d wager, those of most of the players out there tonight in white shirts) are on the Israel vs Russia match tomorrow night – and, you know what? I wouldn’t mind in the slightest if Israel roll over and let the Russians knock seven bells of out of them. This team, these players and this manager don’t...

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