Das Team - A World Cup Dream

samillyroy

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Oesttereicher Fu?ball-Bund

Welcome to my story where I will be looking to take the burgeoning Austrian team further than they've ever dreamed of before! I was very tempted to start an international save, but rather than go for Germany or England as I normally do I've decided to make things a little more interesting by going for Austria.

Austria have some talented footballers available to them, mostly playing in the German Bundesliga, but they also are starting to make an impact on the European stage (notably with Austria Wien qualifying for this year's Champions League Group Stages). I will be looking to further this encouraging development and create a style of football which can bring some silverware to a proud country.


Young striker Philipp Hosiner scores in Austria Wien's 4:1 victory against Zenit St. Petersburg

At the time of taking over, the team sit 2nd in a group consisting of giants Germany and other potential qualifiers Ireland and Sweden. It's still completely possible that we achieve qualification for the World Cup so that's the first objective during my reign.

View attachment 394427

So for the first section of my story, which will go up to (and hopefully include) the World Cup, I have set the team the following objectives:
- push for play-off spot and remain competitive
- identify and develop a spine of players for future tournaments

I believe that with the squad we currently have we can certainly be competitive for the rest of this group and with a bit of luck we can at least make the play-offs for the World Cup which would be a wonderful achievement. These are three players I would initially suggest are critical to our chances of achieving that:

View attachment 394430
David Alaba of FC Bayern Muenchen is clearly the best player in our current squad. A Champions League winner last season with the Bavarian giants, he is versatile enough to provide strength in many positions but I think his skillset will be mostly vital in central midfield.

View attachment 394429
Marko Arnautovic is a wild card but has all the ability in the world as a winger. If we can keep his head in the game then he could be a game changer.

View attachment 394428
A cool head and real creative ability, Andreas Ivanschitz will be crucial in games where we need to unlock defences and he has experience at a very good level. He is currently plying his trade with Levante in Spain after a spell at 1. FSV Mainz 05.

First up is a friendly against Peru in the next couple of days so expect a first update soon. And if anybody knows how I can make my attached files larger that would be a great help!

 
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wr1097

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Nice start and I predict Austria will do the Euro 2020-World Cup '24 double!

If you want to make the images larger, just double click the image and the options will appear.
 

samillyroy

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Austria v. Peru
Ernst-Happel Stadion, Wien
International Friendly



I'm excited to get underway as Austria's national team manager and we start against a decent Peru side. We know their greatest threats to be Jefferson Farfan of FC Schalke 04 and Claudio Pizarro of FC Bayern. They are both experienced and highly dangerous players so we will have to be at our best to stop them.

I inherited a 23 man squad, selected by former manager Marcel Koller and it is as follows:

Robert Almer, Christian Dobnik, Heinz Lindner, Andreas Hoelzl, Martin Hinteregger, Emmanuel Pogatetz (vc), Sebastian Proedl, Aleksander Dragovic, David Alaba, Christian Fuchs (c), Fabian Koch, Alexander Gruenwald, Veli Kivlak, Julian Baumgartlinger, Zlatko Junuzovic, Martin Harnik, Andreas Ivanschitz, Jakob Jantscher, Alexander Gorgon, Lukas Hinterseer, Philipp Hosiner, Erwin Hoffer, Marko Arnautovic

It's a decent side and this fixture will allow me to look at which of these players are suitable for my current system.

Lineups
View attachment 394410

I've gone for a slightly cautious approach ahead of this game. Alaba starts at left back over Fuchs because I am concerned about his ability to defend against the threat of Farfan. Our midfield is nice and compact and we have pace and threat on the wings.

Result:
Austria 0:1 Peru

View attachment 394403
Fine margins in international football as I found out today. Dragovic's costly error in the first half allowed Fernandez a simple nod into the net and set my rein off to a worst possible start. The first half we looked comfortable breaking but it took us a while to try and gain the initiative after we went a goal down which was a little bit concerning. Plenty to work on for the next few months!




 

samillyroy

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Thanks for the comments guys! And thanks for the tip on enlarging the pictures, makes things look a lot nicer.. Hope y'all follow!
 

Rivenger

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This should be interesting, and as my favorite part of FM is international management, will definitely follow it

Sent from my LG-E400 using Tapatalk 2
 

samillyroy

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August 2013, World Ranking 48

Coming into August, the leagues are kicking off around Europe and I visited Salzburg for the visit of Austria Wien in the Austrian Pokal, with the scoreline finishing 3:2 to Salzburg. All of the goalscorers were Austrian (Hosiner x2, Hinteregger x2 and Marco Hoedl) which was pleasing for me to see.

We look to be injury free going into the friendly against Romania which is a relief and we also welcome back a couple of old faces. Here is the 23 man squad for that game:

View attachment 394395

I'm delighted to see Andi Weimann back in the team as I think his tenacity and pace down the wing could be a vital counter-attacking weapon for us. We also welcome Ashley Barnes into the set up for the first time, giving me another attacking option should I wish to test out my 4-4-2 formation.

Striker Lukas Hinterseer left the Austrian Bundesliga this month for 1860 Muenchen in a ?350,000 deal, so if he performs well at that level I should have no hesitation recalling him to the squad.

Austria v. Romania
Woerthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt
International Friendly

We're a month away from my opening competitive match as Austria manager against the Republic of Ireland so this is a vital match in deciding which players I select for that game. Romania are ranked above us in 37th and still have a chance of qualifying in their group, which consists of leaders Turkey, Holland, Estonia, Hungary and Andorra. Their key players are Vlad Chiriches, Razvan Rat and Alexandru Maxim. While I would expect us to give them a hard game at home, this one is a tough call, and a great test ahead of the qualifiers.

Lineups
View attachment 394394
I have once more decided to go for my counter-attacking 4-3-3 formation at least for the first half as I look to control their talented midfield and attack with pace down the wings. Ashley Barnes makes his international debut as I felt he is the only one with the sufficient presence to cause Chiriches and Tamas problems.

Result:
Austria 2:0 Romania
Fuchs (13), Harnik (25)
View attachment 394393
A nice result for us as we sealed the victory in the first half and managed to keep a clean sheet, although that was more to do with Romania's failings than our own good work. The first half was excellent, we controlled the game in our half and looked potent on the counter, Ashley Barnes in particular was brilliant. He first won the free kick that Fuchs finished before holding up the ball for the run of Harnik who slotted past Pantilimon. The second half was all Romania though and we were very poor at keeping the ball in the midfield which we will have to be aware of ahead of the Ireland game. Still, an excellent result!

Next International Break:
06/09/13 v. Ireland [H]

10/09/13 v. Germany [A]
 

samillyroy

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September 2013, World Ranking 48

Just a few weeks after that international friendly against Romania, the group are back together as we look to strengthen our position in the play-off spot of Group C. First of all though, a bit of squad news. David Alaba injured himself a week before the call-up and will miss both crucial games which is of course a massive blow to us. Martin Harnik also suffered an injury and has been deemed unfit for this match, leaving us without two of our best players. I therefore had to scout around and bring in a few fresh faces. Here's the squad:
View attachment 394391
This is no time for experimenting so with Alaba out, I was forced to bring in Christoph Leitgeb as his replacement. Christoph is playing at Red Bull Salzburg and brings plenty of international experience and is also a highly versatile player. He pipped highly talented Holzhauser to the call-up, with too much riding on the next two games.

In transfer news, talented striker Philipp Hosiner continues his progression by moving to 1899 Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga for ?1.5m. We look forward to tracking his progress.

Austria v. Republic of Ireland
UPC-Arena, Graz
World Cup Qualifying, European Sector, Group C

This is where it really begins then. I pick up from the good work done by my predecessor Marcel Koller with a game against 3rd placed Ireland. A win would put us in a fantastic position with just 3 games to go so I certainly have to aim for that. With key players missing though, this will be tough because Ireland are tough opposition.

Lineups
View attachment 394390
This game will be won in the midfield. McCarthy and Meyler are both good players and will break up possession well and in James McClean they have real pace on the break. I am convinced though that we are set up to win this, and I'm looking forward to a real blood and thunder performance.

Result:
Austria 1:0 Republic of Ireland
Dunne o.g. (86)
View attachment 394389
Drama at the death! A crucial late own goal from Ireland centre-back Richard Dunne secured us three vital points in the qualification run-in and sees us hold onto the 2nd spot for the time being. We were disciplined in the first half and helped minimise the threat of their attack. But I was concerned with how little we were creating going the other end so after an hour I switched to a 4-4-2, putting on Jantscher on the right wing to give us something to get at the inexperienced Kohlmann who was making his international debut. And it was the debutant who let Jantscher past him and although his cross seemed to be missing the two onrushing Austrian strikers, Dunne inexplicably poked his foot out and put the ball into the net to the jubilation of the Austrian supporters.


So with just one goal conceded since I took charge of "Das Team", I am confident of going to Germany and going to get a good result. Bad news is that this is a big game for them as a victory would guarantee qualification. If we can get a draw then we should go into the last two matches with things in our hands.

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Germany v. Austria
Mercedes-Benz-Arena, Stuttgart
World Cup Qualification, European Sector, Group C

Our World Cup dream is still a long way from reality but this match in Stuttgart could go a long way to deciding our fate. Our German rivals have cruised through the group so far beating everyone in their path and we will have to be at our absolute best to get anything. Sadly the German national team doesn't appear to be licensed which is incredibly infuriating as I'm sure I have the necessary patch installed but nevertheless, this will be a very tough game indeed.
Bad news ahead of this game as Christoph Leitgeb was forced to pull out with injury. Therefore, the promising Raphael Holzhauser moves into the senior team.

Lineups
View attachment 394385We have been successful in the last games with this formation and I have no reason to not go with it now. Kavlal comes in for Leitgeb whilst Jantscher moves in for Weimann on the left after his impressive cameo. Hoffer will take over from Barnes up front with his know-how of the German players and game.

Result:
Germany 0:0 Austria
View attachment 394386
This is a minor miracle. We were expected to be on the head of a heavy defeat to the Germans, especially with the crucial injuries we had suffered ahead of this game. But we were marvelous in defence and gave them barely a sniff of the goal. And when they did, they found Lindner in typically brilliant form to deny them on a number of occasions. We posed a slight threat ourselves, though we only really had one clear chance at the end with Jantscher. But that is irrelevant as a point is massive in our quest for qualification.
Even more important than this result is the other results in Group C:
View attachment 394383
Ireland saw off Sweden meaning the two are now level on 13 points, while we lead the two of them with 16. With just matches against Kazakhstan and the Faroe Islands to go, we have it well and truly in our hands to secure a play-off spot! A fantastic international period for us.

Next international break:
11/10/13 Kazakhstan [A]
15/10/13 Faroe Islands [H]

 
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samillyroy

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October 2013, World Ranking 45th

We moved up 3 places in the world rankings last month which shows the progress we are making. This is the month though where we show whether we have the mental strength to compete for a place in the World Cup finals. We have two matches which look straight forward on paper but will decide our fate. First we make the long trip to Kazakhstan before hosting minnows Faroe Islands.

We welcome back Martin Harnik and David Alaba to the side, but Andi Weimann and Stefan Ilsanker will both miss out.
View attachment 394382
In international football, I find that consistency is key so I resisted the urge to make wholesale changes or bring in too many of the exciting young talents that are emerging, and instead went for players who are proven at this level. The only exception is youngster Florian Kainz who looks to be a real talent.

Kazakhstan v. Austria
Astana Arena, Astana
World Cup Qualifying, European Sector, Group C

Kazakhstan are an improving footballing nation but they shouldn't have much to worry us. They are currently 5th in our group, where most pundits expected them to be at the beginning of the campaign. We will have to be wary of the atmosphere inside the Astana Arena though and with the travelling distance that we face. Should we deal with that though, this should be a simple enough match.

Lineups
View attachment 394377As favourites for this match, I certainly wanted a more attacking approach than that which we adopted in our last couple of games. I've therefore gone with the 4-4-2 that impressed in the second half against Ireland. Harnik comes back into the team and starts on the right side whilst Jantscher continues on the left. Hosiner made a goalscoring debut for Hoffenheim last week and is rewarded with his second start for me. I expect us to dominate midfield and cause them plenty of problems. We could be qualified for the play-offs by the end of this game.

Result:
Kazakhstan 1:6 Austria
Barnes (2), Pogatetz (6, 34), Dragovic (8), Hosiner (40), Baumgartlinger (87)
View attachment 394375
As simple a victory as we could have hoped for. We were at it from the off, scoring 3 goals in the first 10 minutes to kill the game. Ashley Barnes and Hosiner combined well for the first goal before Pogatetz flicked home Jantscher's near post corner. Dragovic then slammed home another header from a set piece after Harnik's flick on. Corner's were causing Kazakhstan massive problems and we scored again as Pogatetz headed home at the near post again. Kazakhstan grabbed a consolation after twice hitting the post on a counter-attack but Hosiner silenced the crowd instantly with a goal of his own - predictably from a corner. In the second half, we made a couple of changes which may have affected the rhythm but we added a 6th with minutes to spare as Baumgartlinger rifled home a clearance from a - you guessed it - corner.

We're so close now. Ireland beat the Faroe Islands by 4 goals to 1 so they are still theoretically in with a chance of qualification but should we even draw against the Faroe Islands we will nail that spot.

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Austria v. Faroe Islands
Ernst Happel Stadion, Wien
World Cup Qualification, European Sector, Group C

It's a full house tonight in Vienna as we look to end an incredible group stage run with victory over Faroe Islands which will guarantee us a play-off - a two legged match with the winner qualifying for the finals in Brazil. I'm not concerned by what the Faroe Islands have to offer and I'm confident we will be celebrating with the fans come the end of the 90 minutes.

Lineups
View attachment 394374
We were very good with the 4-4-2 against Kazakhstan but I want to take a look at this formation as it is what I will be what I eventually mould the team around should we find players of the appropriate quality. Januzovic has another chance to prove himself after some dissapointing performances as does Arnautovic. Other than that the team is the same as the XI that played against Kazakhstan.

Result:
Austria 5:0 Faroe Islands
Januzovic (12, 46), Arnautovic (29, 66), Hosiner (90+1)
View attachment 394372
A predicatbly one-sided affair and that's it! We've made the World Cup Play-offs! An excellent achievement for a country like Austria against the likes of Ibrahimovic's Sweden and Robbie Keane's Ireland but we want more. The game started early with some great possession play from us and Januzovic found space in the box to get a shot away. Arnautovic then headed home a Fuchs cross to put us 2-0 up at the break. After half-time Januzovic fired in a bullet of a shot from the angle to put us 3-0 up before Faroe Islands' Bartal Jacobsen got himself a second yellow for a ludicrous dive in the box. We made it 4:0 through the impressive Arnautovic before substitute Philipp Hosiner scored his second in as many games with a fine first time finish from Januzovic's through ball.


Austria deservedly booked their place in the European play-offs thanks to Arnautovic's double

View attachment 394371
So in the end we finished just 3 points behind winners Germany after Ireland staged a stirring comeback to beat the Germans at the Aviva stadium. In the end it matters for little and we are into the hat for the play-offs!

World Cup Qualifying, European Sector, Play-Offs
View attachment 394370 View attachment 394369
Denmark v. Holland
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Spain v. Croatia
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Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Poland
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Russia v. Austria


Well I guess I am relieved just to have avoided Spain and Holland but Russia will be very tricky opponents indeed. This is what it's all about though and I'm so excited for those two matches, especially considering the form we take into them. The encouraging thing is that we will have the second leg at home which means we just need to get a good result over there. I'll be doing a commentary for both of those matches so stay tuned!

Next international break:
15/11/13 Russia [A]
19/11/13 Russia [H]


 
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samillyroy

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thanks! it's an almost impossible aim to win the world cup but I'd like to see how far I can take them in the next 10 years or so.
 

samillyroy

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November 2013, World Ranking 44th

Russia v. Austria
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
World Cup Qualification, European Section, Play-Offs, 1st Leg

The dream is well and truly alive. We fly off to Moscow this Friday evening for the first of two massive games for the Austrian footballing community. We worked extremely hard to get to this point and I just really hope we put on a good show for the fans, even if we aren't able to book our tickets to Brazil..

The 23-man team has been selected and there are no real surprises but one big miss in defence, as Kiev's Dragovic misses out with a hamstring injury. In his place comes Christopher Dibon of SK Rapid Wien, though it's unlikely that he will start
View attachment 394251

On to tonight's opponents. Our first leg takes place at the famous Luzhniki stadium, home of the Luzhniki disaster and of course that famous Champions League Final of 2008. The Russian's are ranked 20th in the world and have a number of dangerous players, as will be highlighted shortly. They finished 2nd behind Portugal in a group involving Northern Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan. Of course, it was always going to be them or Portugal going into these play-offs and Cristiano Ronaldo's men came out trumps. Russia are unbeaten at home in qualifying so Austria will be hard pushed to come out with a victory, though I'm sure they'd take the draw from the first leg.

Key for Russia is striker Alexandr Kerzhakov, who Austria will need to keep quiet if they are to have any hope of progressing. With 26 goals in 78 appearances for his country, he is clearly a top player and his pace and persistance will give the Austria defence plenty to ponder.
View attachment 394250
The Russian's have a settled, albiet aging defence and their creativity will come from the experienced Roman Shirikov. However, the Russian's main weapon is their pace in the wide positions. Cheryshev, on loan at Sevilla from Real Madrid, and Bystrov are both highly likely to feature and both have explosive pace. Austria will therefore have to ensure they do not commit to many men forward, or risk being picked off on the counter-attack.

Kick-Off 19:30 GMT


 
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samillyroy

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WORLD CUP PLAY-OFF 1st LEG - RUSSIA 5:1 AUSTRIA


LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY


19:00: THE ROAD TO RIO
9 European teams have already booked their flights to Brazil - Belgium, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, England and France.
But tonight we look at those who finished 2nd in their groups and go head to head in the play-offs. Will the reigning champions Spain crash out before the finals even begin? Will Bosnia reach their first ever World Cup Finals? Can Austria stop Capello reaching another tournament with Russia? We'll have more of an idea about that after tonight's first legs.

19:04: BREAKING TEAM NEWS
To our main game tonight, and we have confirmation of Austria's XI over in Moscow. The squad is mostly as expected, with Proedl coming in for the injured Dragovic.
View attachment 394108
Austria XI: Lindner, Garics, Proedl, Pogatetz, Fuchs, Kavlak, Alaba, Junuzovic, Jantscher, Harnik, Hosiner

19:09: Russia v Austria (1930 BST)
Having taken over from the popular Marcel Koller, the new Austria manager has made an impressive and steady start, guiding his team into these play-offs with victory over Ireland and a draw against Germany. But reputations are made here. If they really want to prove themselves then they have to make an impact tonight. No easy feat, up against a strong Russia side guided by one of the most experienced coaches in world football - Fabio Capello.

19:16: CAPELLO OFF TO THE WORLD CUP AGAIN?
Capello guided his then England side to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, only to be dissapointingly seen off by Germany in Bloemfontain. Tonight, his Russia side, who finished second in their group to the Portuguese, will meet a determined and steely Austria team but many pundits fancy the Russian's to see of their threat and send Capello to his second World Cup finals.
View attachment 394107

19:21: VOICE FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
And we've just got word from the Austria captain, Christian Fuchs ahead of tonight's match.
"It's certainly one of the biggest matches I've ever been involved in. To be this close to a World Cup finals is a massive motivation for me and all the guys in that room. We're all desperate to do our country proud.
"The manager's come in and given everybody new roles but it's been fun so far. He's given us the confidence that we can beat big teams if we are disciplined and hopefully that'll be the case over these next two games."


19:25: TEAM LINEUPS
View attachment 394106Not long to go now and we have the official confirmation of the lineups for this evenings game. Russia start with Pogrebnyak and Kerzhakov up front as expected, with Denisov and Shirokov given the task of marshalling the midfield.

19:30: KICK OFF Russia 0:0 Austria
We're underway to huge roars at a sold-out Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. 90 big minutes for the Austrian footballing community coming up.

19:32: GOAL Russia 1:0 Austria - Alexandr Kokorin (2 mins)
View attachment 394105 It's the worst possible start for Austria as Russia's Alexandr Kokorin stabs in at the near post from a corner. Poor marking and Austria let down by their set piece defending, something which I'm sure will infuriate their manager.

19:38: GOAL Russia 2:0 Austria - Alexandr Kerzhakov (7 mins)
View attachment 394105 From bad.. to worse for Austria. Russia are dominating early on and have slammed a wonderfully worked goal past the helpless Lindner. Great passing in the midfield sees Denisov hit a first time ball in behind the Austrian defence where Kerzhakov pounces and slams first time past the Austria Wien goalkeeper.
View attachment 394104

19:40: Russia 2:0 Austria
View attachment 394103IGOR DENISOV
Austria hadn't even got out of their own half yet, but they keep the ball for a bit before breaking Junuzovic towards the box and he is hacked down cynically by Igor Denisov

19:45: Russia 2:0 Austria
Austria finally getting into the game, making some space in the wide positions before Harnik shoots harmlessly wide. They need an away goal to soften the blow of those two early goals.

19:49: Russia 2:0 Austria
How unlucky! Russia close to a third as Berezutskiy climbs high above Pogatetz only to crash his header firmly off the crossbar.

19:50: GOAL Russia 3:0 Austria - Alexandr Kerzhakov (20 mins)
View attachment 394105 This is quickly getting embarrasing for Austria. Garics pushes far too far up leaving space for Zhirkov on the left hand side and his cross finds an unmarked Kerzhakov who heads home for a 3rd after just 20 minutes.

20:01: GOAL Russia 4:0 Austria - Alexandr Kokorin (31 mins)
View attachment 394105 Is this game over already? With just half an hour of the first leg gone, Russia have cruised into a surely unassailable lead as Kokorin stabs home the rebound from Kerzhakov's spilled shot. How Austria are missing Dragovic in the centre of that defence.

20:08: Russia 4:0 Austria
The Austrian fans are determined to make the most of this as they still chant in their corner of the Luzhniki, but it's looking more and more desperate by the minute as Kerzhakov's smacks against the woodwork. Austria look to be changing shape as Junuzovic pushes into a more advanced role behind Hosiner.

20:12: GOAL Russia 4:1 Austria - Philipp Hosiner (42 mins)
View attachment 394105 A lifeline? It's a route one goal as Kavlak heads a ball from the half-way line for the onrushing Hosiner to chase and he does so, slamming low past Akinfeev.

20:17: GOAL DISALLOWED FOR AUSTRIA
Right on half-time, Junuzovic has the ball in the net after Jantscher plays him behind the Russian defence but the linesman has his flag up. Half-time is coming at just the wrong moment for the Austrians.

20:18: HALF TIME - Russia 4:1 Austria
View attachment 394098Wow, Russia blitzed their way through Austria in that opening half an hour. Hosiner's goal gives Austria something to dream about but it's a long way back still for them. Has the break come at the wrong time?

20:30: SUBSTITUTION FOR AUSTRIA - Arnautovic on for JantscherStoke winger Marko Arnautovic comes on for Austria as they go in search of more away goals.
View attachment 394097

20:30: KICK OFF - Russia 4:1 Austria

20:32: Russia 4:1 Austria

Already Austria are pushing forward in droves, Arnautovic driving a great through ball behind Russia's defence but Harnik can only divert it into the side netting.

20:40: Russia 4:1 Austria
Austria now playing some nice football. You can't help but think that they needed to start this game at this pace. It may well be too late now. Harnik does well to win a corner on the left hand side.

20:43: EUROPEAN LATEST
View attachment 394094
The other qualifiers are less decided than this one, but Spain currently lead Croatia by 2-1 thanks to Llorente's first half header. Ajax's Fischer has given Holland the lead against Denmark and it's 1-1 in Sarajevo where Ibisevic has just cancelled out Lewandowski's opener

20:46: INJURY FOR AUSTRIA - Russia 4:1 Austria
David Alaba is coming off here for the Austrian's. A massive blow for them - young Augsburg midfielder Holzhauser comes on in his place.

20:53: Russia 4:1 Austria
Kokorin has a chance of a hat-trick as Austria are caught out on their left flank but he skews his shot well wide. Russia's first shot of the second half.

20:55: SUBSTITUTION FOR AUSTRIA - Russia 4:1 Austria
Final roll of the dice as Ivanschitz comes on for the dissapointing Januzovic. Did little today although he was unlucky to see his goal disallowed.

21:04: Russia 4:1 Austria
The Austrians look jaded now as their World Cup hopes fade. 3-0 is a big ask in the second leg. They have a half chance as Akinfeev inexplicably rolls it straight to Harnik but instead of racing through he tries to lob him first time and it's a comfortable collect for the Russian goalkeeper.

21:13: GOAL Russia 5:1 Austria - Alexandr Kerzhakov Hat-trick (88 mins)
View attachment 394105 Russia get the goal their late pressure deserved and Austria are well and truly out of this tie now. The Austrian defence fail to clear and as the ball is chipped first time back over the defence it's the impressive Kerzhakov who is alive to take his chance.

21:17: FULL TIME Russia 5:1 Austria
Surely no way back for Austria now no matter what they do in the second leg. Injuries played a part but Russia's class really told in the end and 5:1 is probably a fair reflection.

21: 23: MANAGER'S REACTION
"We were far too slow out of the blocks. I warned them that we needed to keep it tight early on if we were to stand a hope of going through this tie but it seemed to fall on deaf ears - the marking was atrocious.
"That said, we got a reaction after that first half demolition and I guess I can say that's enough but I'm very dissapointed with how this game went in the end.
"We have another leg now and I want the players to repay the fans after that display, even with David [Alaba]."
 
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samillyroy

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World Cup Play-Off 2nd Leg

Russia v. Austria
UPC-Arena, Graz
World Cup Qualification, European Sector, Play-Off 2nd Leg

I have to pass the last game off as a bad day at the office, even though it has cost a place at the World Cup finals. All I ask for now is a performance of dignity and one which repays the fans for the pain of that miserable showing in Moscow. Alaba is the latest injury concern and he will miss this game with Julian Baumgartlinger coming back into the squad to replace him, whilst Junuzovic also ruled himself out the day before the game, giving us no time to replace him.

Lineups
View attachment 394072
Injuries have forced my hand but we move back to our successful 4-4-2 formation for this game as I seek to make more of a mark on proceedings. Baumgartlinger and Leitgeb make up the midfield two in a complete shake-up from the last leg, whilst Weimann comes in up front to partner Hosiner.

Result:
Austria 1:1 Russia
Baumgartlinger [6]
View attachment 394074
Certainly a better display than that first leg, though I'm dissapointed we didn't hold on for the win as Kerzhakov equalised in the last minute. We took the lead early on, but there was never really the chance to get near to the 4 goal aggregate lead as we lacked the legs and the quality in the final third. I have to look at this result in light of Austria's recent tournament record though and say that this was a success for the nation. That loss to Russia will hurt but it gives these boys good experience and a chance to come back for the next qualifiers and know what is required.

Here are the other aggregate results:

Croatia (2) 1:2 (7) Spain

Holland (2) 1:1 (3) Denmark
Poland (4) 3:1 (2) Bosnia & Herzegovina

So Holland crash out whilst Lewandowski's Poland make the finals. Congratulations to those 4 teams that qualified and we now look to the future of Austria, and the EURO 2016 in France. With 24 teams vying for qualification we have every chance to be one of the teams participating so the hard work starts in earnest in March.

Next international break:
TBD
 

samillyroy

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Jul 16, 2009
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indeed.. very dissapointing first half performance in the 1st leg, especially after how well we'd defended in my first 6 games.. onwards and upwards!
 

AldoKemp-1

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Nov 28, 2008
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great story so far mate unfortunate you couldn't make it to Rio but it was a tough draw and the first leg just killed it and shows why Russia where unbeaten at home!