Tuesday 20 March 2018

Pogatetz confident Austrian swagger will deepen Trap misery

Austria's Emanuel Pogatetz
Austria's Emanuel Pogatetz

John Fallon

AUSTRIA want to add more damage to Giovanni Trapattoni's bruised pride tomorrow by obliterating his five-year unbeaten competitive away record in qualifying campaigns as Ireland manager.

Ireland visit the Ernst Happel Stadium knowing only victory will revive their wilting World Cup dream.

Any prospect of that outcome rests on the Irish producing an away display akin to their all-out attack tactic which was employed for the 2009 World Cup play-off in Paris.

Austria's experienced defender Emanuel Pogatetz, however, admits an altered game plan from the visitors, desperate for three points, will expose them even more than usual.

"Trapattoni always has his Irish team in defensive mode but they'll have to come out and attack us in Vienna," said the 30-year-old.

"It will be a much more open game than our 2-2 draw in Dublin. But I believe we have the better attacking players to win this game.

"With both Ireland and Austria losing on Friday, victory is all that matters to each team. Three points for us would set up a showdown with Sweden in Stockholm next month.


"I'm aware Ireland have not lost a qualifier under Trapattoni on the road, but this is different. We are the home team, will have a full house behind us and our record in Vienna is excellent."

Indeed, Austria gave Germany their closest away game of the campaign 12 months ago – their neighbours prevailing 2-1 in a tight game.

The hosts won their other three matches, scoring a total of 10 goals without reply against Kazakhstan and the Faroes Islands. Most recently, they beat Sweden 2-1 in June.

"We knew that our chances of qualifying would rest on beating Ireland and Sweden in our next two qualifiers," said the former West Ham United defender, who played in Friday's 3-0 defeat in Germany.

"Little things will make a difference against Ireland. That happened in Dublin when they switched off late on and we scored an equaliser."

Pogatetz (right) is also relishing the prospect of marking Robbie Keane, the Ireland skipper having sat out the reverse fixture through injury.

"I'm not happy that he's back from injury to face us," he said of the Ireland's record scorer. "I didn't get the chance to face Robbie in Dublin but we'll have to watch him. I'm very confident that we can deal with him."

The air of confidence within the Austrian camp about consigning Ireland and Trapattoni to World Cup oblivion was further reflected by their captain David Alaba, whose last-gasp strike rescued his side at the Aviva Stadium.

When asked how Austria's display will improve from Friday, the Bayern Munich linchpin asserted: "We are playing Ireland. The mistakes that we made against Germany will not be repeated this time."

Irish Independent

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