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Page last updated at 14:11 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 15:11 UK

Austria boss axes experienced duo

Sanel Kuljic
Austria Vienna striker Kuljic has been axed from the squad

Austria coach Josef Hickersberger has named his 23-man squad for Euro 2008, with midfielder Markus Weissenberger and striker Sanel Kuljic both axed.

Eight players were discarded from the original 31-man squad, with Werder Bremen's Martin Harnik, yet to start for Austria, a surprise inclusion.

"It was a long night, we were up until two in the morning making difficult decisions," said Hickersberger.

Austria warmed up for the tournament by drawing 1-1 with Nigeria on Tuesday.

Hamarkameratene striker Roman Kienast opened the scoring in Graz, with Kalu Uche equalising for the visitors.

606: DEBATE
Jonathan Stevenson - BBC Sport

The result leaves Austria with only one win in their last 15 matches.

"I am satisfied with what I saw," added Hickersberger. "In the first half, we played very dangerously with just three defenders, but we did not give away many chances in the second half."

Hickersberger also dropped Rapid Vienna's Andreas Dober, Hoffenheim's Andreas Ibertsberger, Austria Vienna's Franz Schiemer, Salzburg's Marc Janko and Rapid Vienna's Stefan Maierhofen.

Goalkeeper Helge Payer from Rapid Vienna left the team on Tuesday after being hospitalized with a serious stomach complaint.

Attacking midfielder Ivica Vastic, 38, has been included and he is likely to be the oldest outfield player in the tournament.

AUSTRIA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Alex Manninger (AC Siena), Juergen Macho (AEK Athens), Ramazan Ozcan (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim)

Defenders: Gyorgy Garics (Napoli), Ronald Gercaliu (Austria Vienna), Martin Hiden (Kaernten), Markus Katzer (Rapid Vienna), Juergen Patocka (Rapid Vienna), Emanuel Pogatetz (Middlesbrough), Sebastian Proedl (Sturm Graz), Martin Stranzl (Spartak Moscow)

Midfielders: Rene Aufhauser (Salzburg), Christian Fuchs (Mattersburg), Andreas Ivanschitz (Panathinaikos), Umit Korkmaz (Rapid Vienna), Christoph Leitgeb (Salzburg), Juergen Saumel (Sturm Graz), Joachim Standfest (Austria Vienna), Ivica Vastic (LASK Linz)

Forwards: Martin Harnik (Werder Bremen), Erwin Hoffer (Rapid Vienna), Roman Kienast (Ham Kam), Roland Linz (Braga)


see also
Macho back for Nigeria friendly
26 May 08 |  Internationals
Pick your Austria XI
16 May 08 |  Austria


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