Euro 2016 team-by-team guide: Everything you need to know about Austria
Kevin Palmer gives us the lowdown on Austria.
Tournament odds: 33/1
Group F fixtures:
- June 14th vs Hungary in Bordeaux
- June 18th vs Portugal in Paris
- June 22nd vs Iceland in Saint-Denis
COACH: Marcel Koller
As the Republic of Ireland found to their cost in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup finals, under-estimating Austria’s national team is a dangerous game and they have backed up their rising reputation by securing their berth in Euro 2016 under the watch of their Swiss coach Koller.
His 4-2-3-1 formation relies on a high pressing game, with the energy required from his players set to be tested in a frantic eight day group stage programme that will include three high pressure games.
STAR MAN: David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
Republic of Ireland fans recall the damage this classy attacking star can do after his sparkling performances in World Cup 2014 qualifiers and this Bundesliga winner was hugely influential in their impressive qualifying push for Euro 2016 as he scored four vital goals.
Still only 23, he is the most recognizable figure in the Austria line-up and tends to be given the freedom by coach Koller to express himself alongside midfield partner Julian Baumgartlinger. If Alaba has a good Euro 2016, then expect to see the Austrians in the latter stages of the competition.
LOOK OUT FOR: Marc Janko (FC Basel)
The lead front man of this Austrian outfit offers a physical presence and a decent touch on the floor, with his seven goals in Euro 2016 qualifying confirming his importance to this Austrian line-up.
Back in Europe with FC Basel after a spell with A-league side Sydney FC, he has been in stunning scoring form this season and will head into this summer’s finals with Austria oozing with confidence.
WILD CARD: Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City)
One of the shining stars of the Stoke side in the Premier League this season, this powerfully built attacking star has a silky touch and fine finishing ability when he is on top of his game.
Previously with Werder Bremen, he took his Premier League goal tally into double figures this season, with strikes against Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United confirming he has a habit of scoring against high profile opposition. That is a good trick to take with him into Euro 2016.
VERDICT: Austria head into Euro 2016 with real hopes of making an impact in a group that appears to offer them every chance to make progress to the second phase and beyond.
Every major tournament throws up a surprise side and if Austria’s star names fire in unison, they have hopes of being the outsiders to watch in France this summer.