Euro 2016 Group F Preview: Austria

Austria head to a second European Championships as one of the top form teams from qualifying, but can Marcel Koller keep the good times rolling for Austria at Euro 2016?

Austria image: sports.yahoo.com

Austria will compete at the European Championships for just the second time
image: sports.yahoo.com

History

This is only Austria’s second European Championship and is the first time they actually qualified for the finals.

They qualified automatically as co-hosts in 2008 but they failed to make it out of their group. Austria comfortably qualified for Euro 2016 as group F winners and dropped just two points in their ten games.

Key Player

David Alaba has won five Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich image: fcbayern.de

David Alaba has won five Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich
image: fcbayern.de

He’s has been Austria’s Player of the year for the five consecutive seasonS and at just 23-years-old David Alaba is already an Austrian legend, as he has got the versatility and skill to lead Austria to a successful Euro 2016 campaign.

He has been a key figure in the Bayern Munich defence for the past five seasons with 218 appearances for the club. It is his versatility that is one of his key strengths and while he plays mainly left-back for the German giants, expect him to have a more defensive midfield role for Austria.

He will also chip in with a goal or two with 11 in 42 appearances for Austria but he offers a whole lot more with box-to-box runs, wicked pace and a deadly left-foot, which could see him score some screamers in France. Alaba could be one of the surprise stars of Euro 2016.

One to Watch 

22-year-old Alessandro Schopf will be hoping to prove that he was worth taking a chance on for boss Koller, as the Schalke midfielder hopes to keep up his good club form and show he is one of Austria’s brightest young stars.

Alessandro Schopf scored his first Austria goal in a freindly agsinst Malta image: scjalke04.de

Alessandro Schopf scored his first Austria goal in a friendly against Malta
image: schalke04.de

He only made the switch to Schalke from German second division side Nurnburg in January but he has made an instant impact with three goals and three assists in 13 Bundesliga appearances. He may only have three international caps for Austria but already has a goal to his name.

He likes to play in an attacking midfield role with accurate passing, top dribbling skills and set-pieces are among Schopf’s key strengths that he will bring to this side. He is unlikely to be starter in France but he will be desperate to get a chance off the bench and show what he is made of.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Robert Almer (Austria Vienna), Heinz Lindner (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ramazan Ozcan (Ingolstadt).

Defenders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Aleksandar Dragovic (Dynamo Kiev), Christian Fuchs (Leicester), Gyorgy Garics (Darmstadt), Martin Hinteregger (Borussia Monchengladbach), Florian Klein (Stuttgart), Sebastian Prodl (Watford), Markus Suttner (Ingolstadt), Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Marko Arnautovic (Stoke), Julian Baumgartlinger (Mainz), Martin Harnik (Stuttgart), Stefan Ilsanker (Leipzig), Jakob Jantscher (Luzern), Zlatko Junuzovic (Werder Bremen), Marcel Sabitzer (Leipzig), Alessandro Schopf (Schalke)

Strikers: Lukas Hinterseer (Ingolstadt), Rubin Okotie (1860 Munich), Marc Janko (Basel).

Austria's last European Championship was as co-hosts in 2008 image: gloabalexpressnews.com

Austria’s last European Championship was as co-hosts in 2008
image: gloabalexpressnews.com

Prediction: Quarter Finals

I think Austria are one’s to watch at Euro 2016, as they comfortably topped their group in to reach Euro 2016 and they head to France as just one of four teams who did not lose a single game in qualifying.

They may not have the same quality as the likes of Spain and Germany, but they are a decent side with a hard work rate and strong team spirit. Alaba is thier main man but also keep an eye on Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic and Basel’s Marc Janko to make a mark.

If Austria finished in second place behind Portugal that will pair them with group B runners-up, who I think will be Wales. Austria are good enough to beat them but a possible last eight clash with France will be a stretch too far.

Austria’s Fixtures

14 Jun v Hungary (1700)

18 Jun v Portugal (2000)

22 Jun v Iceland (1700)

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