Austria will fancy their chances of progressing into the Euros knockout stages when they kick off their tournament against North Macedonia on 13 June. Austria have only twice previously competed in the Euros – and in fact made their debut as recently as 2008 when they jointly hosted the competition with Switzerland.
Head coach Franco Foda, who has been in charge of the team since 2018, will be hoping his troops make a surprise impact on the tournament this summer. The boss has the likes of David Alaba, Aleksandar Dragovic, Julian Baumgartlinger and Marko Arnautovic to call upon, as well as a mix of impressive young stars who are only just breaking into the national side.
Austria qualified for the Euros as runners-up to Poland in qualification Group G. Their road to the Euros included a 0-0 draw with the Poles in Warsaw that highlighted their defensive credentials. Home and away victories over North Macedonia meant Austria finished in a comfortable second place to secure automatic progression to this summer’s finals, with Arnautovic finishing top scorer with six goals.
Notably, Valentino Lazaro and Marcel Sabitzer were the only other players to score multiple goals for Austria during qualifying. But Foda benefitted from a host of players grabbing single goals over the campaign.
Austria tend to play a 4-2-3-1 system that can revert to a 4-3-3 when facing trickier opposition. Foda likes to deploy Arnautovic up front on his own, with Alaba, Sabitzer and Lazaro supporting the main man. As a manager he plays to his team’s strengths, soaking up pressure before looking to hit with precision through their forward line. Captain Baumgartlinger is the metronome to the side and is tipped to be one of the best Euros players this summer.
Foda will expect to progress to the last-16 stage and escape a group that includes Netherlands, Ukraine and North Macedonia, but this is where the Austria Euros dream likely ends. Finishing second in this group – behind Netherlands – wouldn’t be a surprise but that could result in a knockout clash with Italy, who would be heavy favourites to win.
Austria’s group games will take place in Bucharest and Amsterdam, while the team will remain based at home in the mountain resort of Seefeld in Tirol. They have never won a game at the Euros but have high hopes that their training base – an envy of many rival national teams – can provide the grounding required to advance past the groups.