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Austria: The Ultimate Euro 2020 Preview

Hoping to right the wrongs of their horror-showing at Euro 2016, Austria arrive at Euro 2020 with a point to prove.

Despite this being only their third appearance at a European Championships, the mood in the Austrian camp is glum. Franco Foda’s side haven’t scored in three games, and the former defender boldly sought to assure fans that his side will be ready come the start of the tournament.

In an open looking Group C, a win in their opening match against North Macedonia looks a must if Austria are to progress to the knockout stage for the first time.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, AUSTRIA, North Macedonia

Captain: Julian Baumgartlinger

Head Coach: Franco Foda

FIFA Ranking: 23

Best Finish: Group Stage – 2008 & 2016

Fixtures:

AUSTRIA v North Macedonia – 13 June, 17:00 (BST). Arena Națională, Bucharest, Romania

Netherlands v AUSTRIA – 17 June, 20:00 (BST). Johann Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ukraine v AUSTRIA – 21 June, 17:00 (BST). Arena Națională, Bucharest, Romania

Qualification

Despite losing both of their opening games in qualification Group G, Austria recovered to seal second place and automatic qualification. Poland ran out comfortable winners, while Slovenia, North Macedonia and Israel all regularly took points off each other to leave the door open for Austria’s revival, which was eventually sealed with a match to spare. That final match did however result in an embarrassing loss to bottom side Latvia, which provided the Balkan nation’s only points of the campaign.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Daniel Bachmann (Watford), Pavao Pervan (Wolfsburg), Alexander Schlager (LASK)

Defenders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Aleksandar Dragović (Bayer Leverkusen), Marco Friedl (Werder Bremen), Martin Hinteregger (Eintracht Frankfurt), Stefan Lainer (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Philipp Lienhart (Freiburg), Stefan Posch (Hoffenheim), Christopher Trimmel (Union Berlin), Andreas Ulmer (Salzburg)

Midfielders: Julian Baumgartlinger (Leverkusen), Christoph Baumgartner (Hoffenheim), Florian Grillitsch (Hoffenheim), Stefan Ilsanker (Eintracht Frankfurt), Konrad Laimer (Leipzig), Valentino Lazaro (Internazionale), Marcel Sabitzer (Leipzig), Louis Schaub (Luzern), Xaver Schlager (Wolfsburg), Alessandro Schöpf (Schalke)

Forwards: Marko Arnautović (Shanghai Port), Michael Gregoritsch (Augsburg), Sasa Kalajdzic (Stuttgart), Karim Onisiwo (Mainz)

Danger Man – Marcel Sabitzer

One of two genuinely world class players in the Austrian squad along with David Alaba, creative midfielder Marcel Sabitzer will be the chief string-puller for Austria this summer.

Linked with Spurs over the last few months, Sabitzer has been nothing short of sensational for Red Bull Leipzig over the last two seasons, with 25 goals from midfield in all competitions.

He almost scored a sensational looping effort against England in Austria’s first warmup friendly, and don’t be surprised to see the 27-year-old pop up in similar positions all summer long.

One to Watch – Saša Kalajdžić

An absolute mountain of a striker standing at two metres tall, Saša Kalajdžić burst onto the scene with 16 goals for Stuttgart in the Bundesliga this season.

No defender will have an easy night defending a man that tall, and Kalajdžić has also shown he is at home on the international stage with three goals from his first seven appearances for Austria.

Still just 23, Euro 2020 could be the making of him.

Premier League Representation

No member of Austria’s 26-man squad featured in the Premier League this season, though Daniel Bachmann is set to feature for Watford in 2021/22 following the Hornet’s promotion.

Leicester left back Christian Fuchs is the only Austrian who made an appearance in the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, though the veteran retired from international duty back in 2016.

Route to the Final

  1. If Austria top the group, they will play the team who finishes third in Group D, E or F.
  2. If Austria finish second, they will face the team who finish top of Group A (Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland)
  3. If they finish as one of the four best third place teams, they will play the winner of either Group E or F.

After the second round, the draw will depend on which third place teams qualified for the knockout stages.

Stats

  • Austria have never won a match at a European Championships (D2 L4)
  • Captain Julian Baumgartlinger will move to joint seventh in the list of appearances if he makes an appearance at Euro 2020.
  • Austria have only ever played North Macedonia and Ukraine twice in their history.

Sam Hanys

A miserable Ipswich Town fan.

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