Austria national football team

Austria national football team

Infobox national football team
Name = Austria
Badge = OFB.png|250px FIFA Trigramme = AUT
Nickname = "Das Team"
Association = Austrian Football Association
Confederation = UEFA (Europe)
Coach = flagicon|Czech Republic Karel Brückner
Captain = Andreas Ivanschitz
Most caps = Andreas Herzog (103)
Top scorer = Toni Polster (44)
Home Stadium = Ernst Happel Stadion
FIFA Rank = 101 |1st ranking date = August 1993
FIFA max = 17
FIFA max date = May 1999| FIFA min = 105
FIFA min date = July 2008
Elo Rank = 62
Elo max = 1
Elo max date = May 1934
Elo min = 63
Elo min date = Oct 2007, Nov 2007
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body1 = FF0000
rightarm1 = FF0000
shorts1 = FFFFFF
socks1 = FF0000

pattern_la2 =
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First game = )
Largest win = flagicon|Austria Austria 9 - 0 fb-rt|Malta (Salzburg, Austria; April 30, 1977)

Largest loss = )
World cup apps = 7
World cup first = 1934
World cup best = Third place, 1954
European Championship apps = 1 European Championship first = 2008 (co-host) Olympic Tournament: Silver Medal, Olympic Games 1936
Regional name = European Football Championship
Regional cup apps = 1
Regional cup first = 2008
Regional cup best = Round 1, 2008

The Austria national football team is the association football team that represents the country of Austria in international competition and is controlled by the Austrian Football Association (German: Österreichischer Fußball Bund).

Austria has qualified for seven World Cups, most recently in 1998. The country played in the European Championship for the first time in 2008 when it co-hosted the event with Switzerland.



The Austrian Football Association was founded on 18 March 1904 in the Empire of Austria-Hungary. The team enjoyed success in the 1930s under coach Hugo Meisl becoming a dominant side in Europe and earning the nickname "Wunderteam". On 16 May 1931, they were the first European side to defeat Scotland.

In the 1934 FIFA World Cup, they finished 4th after losing 0-1 to Italy in the semifinals, and 3-2 to Germany for Third place. They were runners-up in the Football at the Summer Olympics 1936, again losing to Italy, 2-1. (They had actually lost in the quarterfinals to Peru, but were re-instated after Peru withdrew after a re-match was ordered.)

Austria had qualified for the 1938 finals, but due to the Anschluss on 12 March of that year, Austria was annexed to Germany. Already on 28 March ["Nazis in der Abseitsfalle" - einestages Spiegel Online [] ] , FIFA was notified that the Austrian FA had been abolished, meaning also withdrawal from the World Cup, with the German team representing also Austria. Theoretically, a united team could have been an even stronger force than each of the separate ones, but German coach Sepp Herberger had little time and very few games to prepare and merge the very different styles of play and attitude. The former Austrian professionals outplayed the rather athletic yet amateur player of the "Old Empire" in a "reunification" derby that was supposed to finish as a draw, yet in the waning minutes, the Austrians scored twice, with Matthias Sindelar also demonstratively missing the German goal, and subsequently declining to be capped for Germany. In a later rematch, the Germans took revenge, winning 9:1. In early April, Herberger inquired whether two separate teams could enter anyway, but "Reichssportführer" Hans von Tschammer und Osten made clear that he expected to see a 5:6 or 6:5 mixture of players from the two hitherto teams.

As a result, five players from Rapid Wien, Vienna Wien and Austria Wien were part of the team that only managed a 1:1 draw in Round 1 against Switzerland, which required a rematch. With Rapid Wien's forward Pesser having been sent off, and not satisfied with two others, Herberger had to alter the line-up on six positions to fulfill the 6:5 quota again. The all-German team led the Swiss 2:0 after 15 minutes, but eventually lost 2:4 in Paris, in front of a rather anti-German French and Swiss crowd, as few German supporters were able to travel to France due to German restrictions on foreign currency exchange. This elimination in Round 1 remains Germany's worst World Cup result, with Nazi policy likely denying both teams a better result.

After World War II, Austria was again separated from Germany. Austria's best result came in 1954, when they lost the semifinal 1 – 6 to eventual champion Germany, but finished third after beating defending champion Uruguay 3-1. This remains their best result ever, and unfortunately the last time for decades that Austria reached the end round of a major tournament.

Over the years, a strong yet mainly lopsided rivalry with Germany developed.

1970s and 1980s

Anchored by legendary striker Hans Krankl and backed up by co-star Bruno Pezzey, Austria reached the World Cup in 1978 and 1982 and both times reached the Second Round, held in team group games that replaced the knock-out Quarter Finals. This Austria team is widely regarded as the best post-WWII Austrian football team ever.

In the Football World Cup 1978 in Argentina, they had lost two games and would almost surely finish last in their Second Round group of four teams, but they put in a special effort for their last game in Córdoba against West Germany, and eliminated the defending world champion, beating them 3-2 by goals of Krankl. The celebrating report of the radio commentator Edi Finger ("I werd narrisch!") became famous in Austria, while the Germans regard the game as a disgrace ().

During the Football World Cup 1982 in Spain, Austria and West Germany met again, in the last game of Round 1. Because the other two teams in the group had played their last game the previous day, both teams knew that a West German win by one goal would see both through, a larger win would eliminate Austria and an Austrian win would eliminate West Germany. After ten minutes of furious attack, Horst Hrubesch scored for West Germany, and the two teams proceeded to simply kick the ball around for eighty minutes with no attempt to attack. The game became known as the "the non-aggression pact of Gijon". Algeria had also won two games, including a shocking surprise over Germany in the opener, but was eliminated by the 0-1 result based on goal difference. The Algerian supporters were understandably furious, and even the Austrian and West German fans showed themselves to be extremely unhappy with the nature of their progression. As a result of this game, all future tournaments would see the last group games played simultaneously.

Austria was eliminated by losing to France in the Second round group stage of three teams.


Led by striker Toni Polster, Austria qualified for the 1990 World Cup, but were eliminated in the first round.

Much worse was the stunning 0:1 loss against the Faroe Islands in the qualifying campaign for the European Championship 1992, considered the worst embarrassment in any Austrian team sport ever, and one of the biggest upsets in footballing history. The game was played in Landskrona, Sweden because there were no grass fields on the Islands.It was a sign for things to come: Austria suffered another couple of years of botched qualifying campaigns.

In the World Cup 1998, Austria were drawn in Group B along with Italy, Cameroon and Chile. Their appearance was brief but eventful, as they managed the curious feat of only scoring in stoppage time in each of their matches. Against Cameroon, Pierre Njanka's superb goal was cancelled out by Toni Polster's late strike. In their second game, it was Ivica Vastic who curled a last minute equalizer, cancelling out Marcelo Salas's disputed opener. Austria weren't so fortunate in their crucial, final match at the Stade de France. Italy scored twice after half-time; a header from Christian Vieri and a tap-in from Roberto Baggio. Andreas Herzog's stoppage time penalty kept up Austria's unusual scoring pattern, but was not enough to prevent Austria finishing third in the group, behind the Italians and Chileans.

21st Century

In recent years, Austria's form has declined. They failed to qualify for the next World Cup and European Championships, and suffered extreme embarrassment (similar to the Faroe Islands loss) when they lost 9 - 0 to Spain and 5 - 0 to Israel in 1999. In 2006 Josef Hickersberger became coach of the Austrian national team, with a notable win against Switzerland in late 2006 bringing to an end a series of bad results.

Austria qualified automatically for the European Championships of 2008 as co-hosts. Their first major tournament in a decade, most commentators regarded them as rank outsiders and whipping-boys for Germany, Croatia and Poland in the group stage. Many of their home supporters were in agreement and 10,000 Austrians signed a petition demanding that Austria withdraw from the tournament to spare the nation's embarrassment [cite web|url=|title=Austria must pull out of Euro 2008, say 10,000 fans petition||date=16/08/2007|accessdate=16/06/2008] However, Austria performed better than expected. They managed a 1 - 1 draw with Poland, gave the Croatians a hard time before losing 1-0 to a Luka Modrić penalty and defended valiantly against the Germans but Michael Ballack's free kick sealed the game in a 1-0 defeat.

Shortly after Austria's first-round exit from the tournament, Josef Hickersberger resigned as the national team coach. Karel Brückner, who had resigned as head coach of the Czech Republic after that country's first-round exit from Euro 2008, was soon named as his replacement.

Records at major tournaments

World Cup record


{| class="toccolours" style="background:#ffffff;" align="right" width="100%"
align="center"|Football kit|leftarm=FFFFFF|pattern_la=|pattern_b=|pattern_ra=|body=FFFFFF|rightarm=FFFFFF|shorts=010101|socks=010101|title=ClassicDue to the former empire of Austria-Hungary that was dissolved in 1918, games among these teams used to serve as a background for a joke: "Who's playing?" - "Austria-Hungary" -"Against whom?". However, even before 1918 the Austrian and Hungarian parts of the empire had separate teams.

Austria used to play in similar colours to those of the German team; white jerseys, black shorts, black socks (the Germans wear white ones). In order to distinguish themselves, in 2004 coach Hans Krankl switched to their former away shirts, which have the same colour scheme as Austria's flag, red-white-red, but Germany's coach Klinsmann then also promoted the use of red.Fact|date=June 2008 To further distinguish themselves from Germany, the Austrians now use an all-black away kit.


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ RSSSF archive of results 1902-2003]
* [ RSSSF archive of most capped players and highest goalscorers]
* [ RSSSF archive of coaches 1902-1999]
* [ Austria national football team /Ambrosius Kutschera/]

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