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Austria team guide

BBC Sport's Euro 2008 guide to Austria.


Fixtures (Group B):

Austria

v Croatia - 8 June, 1700 BST, Vienna
Croatia team guide

v Poland - 12 June, 1945 BST, Vienna
Poland team guide

v Germany - 16 June, 1945 BST, Vienna
Germany team guide


How did they get there: Along with Switzerland, they are the joint hosts of Euro 2008.

Josef Hickersberger
Manager: Josef Hickersberger. Won 39 caps for Austria and played in the 1978 World Cup. Appointed coach in 1988 and led Austria to Italia '90, but was sacked after a 1-0 defeat to the Faroe Islands in Euro 92 qualification. Tried his luck in the Middle East before returning to Austria with Rapid Vienna and then being re-appointed in 2006.

Captain: Andreas Ivanschitz. The 24-year-old carries a heavy burden into the tournament as one of Austria's star players and a major goal threat from midfield. Plays for Greek side Panathinaikos and is known as the "Austrian Beckham" back home, the co-hosts are relying on his trusty left foot to do some damage.

606: DEBATE

Euro highlights: Well, they've never qualified for the European Championship and they probably wouldn't have got to this one had they not been co-hosts, so they are very much an unknown quantity on the big stage. Last qualification of any sort was for the 1998 World Cup in France.

Euro legend: That title is very much up for grabs this summer.

Emanuel Pogatetz

Star man: Emanuel Pogatetz. Austria have few players with experience in one of Europe's major leagues and the 25-year-old has spent the last three seasons impressing at left-back and centre-back for Middlesbrough. Banned in 2006 after criticising Hickersberger and Ivanschitz, but back in the side now and they cannot afford to be without him.

Strengths: Defence. With Pogatetz, Spartak Moscow's Martin Stranzl and 20-year-old Sebastian Prodl, who will sign for Werder Bremen in the summer, Austria have a reliable backline to complement former Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Manninger.

Weaknesses: Up front. Relatively solid at the back, Austria's principal problem will be scoring goals. Prodl bagged a brace in the 4-3 friendly defeat by the Netherlands in March, but they will be relying on SC Braga's Roland Linz and Austria Vienna's Sanel Kuljic up front. Not exactly mouth-watering.

World ranking: 92nd.

Our verdict: Of the two hosts, Austria are most up against it to have a successful tournament. Not in the hardest group, but they will have to cause an almighty upset to beat either Germany or Croatia.




see also
Pick your Austria XI
16 May 08 |  Austria
Country profile: Austria
05 Mar 08 |  Country profiles


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