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This summer's European Championships will be the second one to be jointly hosted by two countries. The first was in 2000, when Belgium and the Netherlands co hosted the event. This time, Austria and Switzerland have been chosen as the hosts for Euro 2008. The next Euro will also be jointly hosted, with Poland and Ukraine to do the honours four years down the line. And this is the first time the Austrians will be making their appearance at the Championships. Can they do a South Korea by making it to the last four ? It will be very, very difficult given the group they are in, but as we all know, rankings can end up being just statements on a paper at the end of a football match. Traditionally, the hosts have done decently at the European Championship, and Austria will hope to carry on that tradition. It is not often that you get to see the Austrian team play a major international tournament, and we are offering you the opportunity to watch them at an unbeatable price of £9.99. And with the quality of coverage that we provide, you will definitely get your money's worth.

 

 

 

While Austria are making their European debut this year, they have made as many as seven appearances at the FIFA World Cup. Their best World Cup was the one hosted in Switzerland in 1954. The Austrians went into the semifinals unbeaten, only to be thrashed 6-1 by champions West Germany. To their credit, they recovered to beat Uruguay 3-1 in the third place playoff.

 

Their last World Cup was France '98, where they were placed along with Chile, Italy and Cameroon. They needed late goals from Toni Polster and Ivica Vastić to draw against Cameroon and Chile respectively, but were unable to walk away with anything from their game against the Italians. Chile drew all their games, and the South Americans advanced to the next round as they had three points to Austria's two.

 

Weak as they might seem on paper, Austria have actually come quite close to qualifying for the European Championship. While their attempt to qualify for Euro 2004 was, quite simply, not up to the mark, they did come close to doing it in Euro 2000. Despite an embarrassing campaign marked by 0-9 and 0-5 defeats to Spain and Israel respectively, Austria finished level on points with Israel. However, Israel had a better goal difference, and had taken four points from their two games against the Austrians. A last day 3-5 defeat to Northern Ireland dashed their hopes of qualifying for Euro' 96. Going into the final day, Austria had 16, Northern Ireland had 14, and the Republic of Ireland had 17. Spain did Austria a favour by beating the Republic of Ireland, but the Austrians were unable to defeat Northern Ireland.

 

Austria have a fierce rivalry with Germany, although it has become a bit one sided over the years, with the Germans maintaining their reputation of being a soccer powerhouse and Austrian football going downhill. Austria are one of the two teams who have lost to the Faroe Islands in European qualifying, the other being San Marino. At Euro 2008, Austria are in Group B, along with Germany, Poland and Croatia. The FIFA world rankings certify them as the weakest team in the group, but they do have home advantage.

 

 

 

Austria's fixtures at Euro 2008

8 June- vs Croatia in Vienna ( 18.00)

12 June- vs Poland in Vienna ( 20.45)

16 June- vs Germany in Vienna ( 20.45)

All timings are UTC + 2.

 

Most of Austria's players ply their trade in the Austrian league- Red Bull Salzburg, Rapid Vienna, Austria Vienna and Sturm Graz being the main employers. With the number of eyeballs glued on to the television, the players will be keen to give a good account of themselves.

 

If they are to have any hope of progressing past the group stages, the Austrians must not let their guard down. Their recent 3-4 loss to the Dutch in a friendly, after having taken a 3-0 lead, was a perfect example of the team losing concentration, and as a result, losing a game it should have won. Defenders Emmanuel Pogatetz and Martin Stranzl will have their work cut out, especially against the attacking threats that Germany and Croatia, in particular, possess. Jurgen Saumel, Rene Aufhauser, Sebastien Prodl, Andreas Ivanschitz and co. will have to work hard.

 

What can a fan of the alpine nation expect ? He may not harbour high hopes, but will want the team to be competitive. With a little luck and some good football, who knows what can happen ?

 

Watch live football with us, and see Austria in action at Euro 2008 live. Join us now, and see Josef Hickersberger and his boys battle it out in their maiden European appearance.

 




Tags: European Championships, Euro 2008, Austria, FIFA World Cup, European Championship, Group B, Emmanuel Pogatetz, Andreas Ivanschitz, Watch live football, euro 2008 live

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