Austria currently have a golden era of players and the expectations going into Euro 2016 will be far higher than previous tournaments. The qualifying campaign saw Austria win 9 matches with only the 1 draw and no losses which is impressive even considering they inherited a week group and they have to be given full credit for going unbeaten and will be a team to be feared in France.
The Austrian squad is primarily based in the German Bundesliga and it includes some of the leagues star players. Bayern Munich's David Alaba has been the standout player and his statistics back this up, 4 goals during the qualifying campaign is very good but considering Alaba is predominantly a defender it makes this feat even more impressive and he is no doubt the most influential player in this team even at the young age of 24.
Other notable names are the Stoke midfielder Marko Arnautovic who has been at various big name teams around Europe and currently boasts 3 goals during qualifying. With this squad, Austria won their qualifying group by a massive 8 points which is the second most of any team, and the Austrians may well take this form into France and could well show even more improvement with such a young team at their disposal.
Winning the tournament maybe beyond Austria, but don't count them out as they have a young squad that is improving all the time. They are fancied to progress from Group F in first place and they will then be an unknown quantity as this will be the squads first encounter at a major tournament, how they handle the pressure may provide the answer to how far they go.
Like Belgium though, Austria are a young side full of potential and it may be that in France they will get the experience to move on and be competitive at future competitions. However, they will be a match for any nation at Euro 2016 with their quality and may prove to be a lively outsider if some of the bigger teams make an early exit.
Austria have only qualified once previously for the European Championships, due to being the joint host nation back in 2008. A quick sharp exit in the group stages ensued and Austrian fans will be hoping for a better showing this time around.
|14.06.16||17.00||Austria||0 - 2||Hungary|
|14.06.16||20.00||Portugal||1 - 1||Iceland|
|18.06.16||17.00||Iceland||1 - 1||Hungary|
|18.06.16||20.00||Portugal||0 - 0||Austria|
|22.06.16||17.00||Iceland||2 - 1||Austria|
|22.06.16||17.00||Hungary||3 - 3||Portugal|
Austria have a tough draw in Group F but will be expected to come through it. Portugal, Iceland and Hungary will await this side and the first team mentioned will most likely be their biggest opposition. Portugal have disappointed at recent tournaments and will be looking to put that right in France which will make them a very difficult team to play. The other 2 games will see Austria going into them as favourites and they should take 3 points from both.
Hungry are a poor side with very limited attacking options so should be an easy fixture for Austria, the game against Iceland may be a trickier encounter. Iceland have qualified for their first ever tournament at Euro 2016 and will be full of hope when Austria face them, they also have great attacking options in their side and may prove a difficult fixture for this young Austrian side.
Below is a list of the 4 teams drawn in Group F and their FIFA World Ranking, as you can see, Austria are the 2nd highest ranked team, just behind Portugal.
32 year old forward, Marc Janko provided the fire power during qualifying with 7 goals to his name. That's not to say the rest of the squad didn't have their say, remarkably David Alaba a 23 year old defender netted 4 times with Martin Harnik and Marko Arnautovic scoring 3 times each. With goals coming from all over the pitch, Austria will be a dangerous contender at Euro 2016.
|David Alaba||23||Defender / Midfield||4|
|Martin Harnik||28||Midfield / Forward||3|
|Marko Arnautovic||27||Midfield / Forward||3|
Austria will surely finish either top or second in Group F. This will mean they qualify for the next round and will face a higher quality of opposition in the next phase. If they top the group, they will most likely be drawn against either Belgium or Italy. These 2 sides will present a very difficult task for this young Austrian side and both of the aforementioned nations would be expected to have too much quality for what is a newly developing team. Alternatively if they were to finish as runners up in the group they could strangely encounter an easier draw. The 2nd place side in group F will face the runners up in Group B. This will most likely be either Russia or Wales and the Austrians would be fancied to get past either of these sides fairly comfortably.
It is an anomaly of this tournament that you can potentially face an easier side if you finish second in the group but Austria could well take full advantage and progress to the Quarters. However, this may be where the journey ends as it would appear that the hosts France will be waiting in the last 8 and would send the Austrian side packing. If they were to reach the Quarter-finals it would be a great achievement and that is where the recommendation is. Austria should exit the tournament at the Quarter-final stage.
David Alaba is the man who Austria will be hoping can produce the goods in France. He has been influential in getting Austria to Euro 2016 and will no doubt be vital again in the final tournament. The Bayern Munich man is still a spring chicken at 24 years of age and this tournament may come too soon for him but if he can step up to the plate and prove himself on the international stage he could be one of the stars of the tournament in France.
Austria are very similar to their German cousins. They are very capable of keeping possession and playing patiently through the opposition but they can also attack quickly through their wide men. They also have a very solid defence. Their back line only conceded 5 goals during qualifying and is a very solid outfit, however this may have been down to how much possession they were afforded during qualifying, this will not be the case in France and they may have to be more battle hardened to keep clean sheets at Euro 2016.