A squad built around the U-20s World Cup side that made it to the Semi-finals has given Austria ever reason to be optimistic after clearing qualification at a canter. They did not qualify for either World Cup 2014 or Euro 2012 but this generation of players who play across The Bundesliga, The English Premier League and more look set to be more than just also rans.
How They Qualified: A poor European history did not stop Austria from qualifying for their second ever European Championship next summer in France with an unblemished record. Austria won Group G with 28 points including 9 wins and one draw. Marc Jenko led the team with seven goals in qualification, but David Alaba, Marko Arnautovic, and Martin Harnik all scored three goals or more each for the Austrians in qualification, suggesting strength in depth in numerous departments.
Tournament History: Group stage 2008.
Coach: Marcel Koller. After winning the Swiss league 7 time as a player with Grasshoppers, Koller moved into coaching where he won the title twice more with St. Gallen. After a poor spell in Germany with both Cologne and Bochum he exiled himself for two years in order to study coaching techniques and consequently landed the Austria post in 2011.
Key Man: David Alaba. The Bayern Munich man scored four times in qualification. Despite being at times overshadowed in the Bundesliga with Die Roten by some of his teammates his class is clear with the national team, making him possibly one of the most underrated payers at the tournament this summer. With engine to get up and down the pitch and a venomous shot, the 23-year-old’s quality could see Austria escape the group. He can play pretty much anywhere too, from center-back to No10 he can adopt a free role or sit tight given the circumstances.
One To Watch: Zlatko Junuzovic. The Werder Bremen free-kick specialist netted three times during qualification. Last year he was voted fans’ player of the season in Bremen for his industrious efforts in the Werder midfield. Despite being born in the former Yugoslavia, the 28-year-old became a citizen after moving to Austria with his parents aged five.
June 14, 12 p.m. vs. Hungary
June 18, 3 p.m. vs. Portugal
June 22, 12 p.m. vs. Iceland
Goalkeepers: Robert Almer (Austria Vienna), Heinz Lindner (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ramazan Ozcan (Ingolstadt).
Defenders: Aleksandar Dragovic (Dinamo Kiev), Christian Fuchs (Leicester City), Gyorgy Garics (Darmstadt), Martin Hinteregger (Borussia Monchengladbach), Florian Klein (Stuttgart), Sebastian Prodl (Watford), Markus Suttner (Ingolstadt), Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham Hotspur).
Midfielders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City), Julian Baumgartlinger (Mainz), Martin Harnik (Stuttgart), Stefan Ilsanker (Leipzig), Jakob Jantscher (Luzern), Zlatko Junuzovic (Werder Bremen), Marcel Sabitzer (Leipzig), Alessandro Schopf (Schalke).
Forwards: Lukas Hinterseer (Ingolstadt), Rubin Okotie (1860 Munich), Marc Janko (Basel).