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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Not the golden generation: Austrian footballers miss the World Cup

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“We started well,” said Franco Foda, when everything had come to an end. The ORF microphone, to which he spoke in Cardiff, is a good acquaintance of the Austrian team boss for a long time: for four and a half years, Foda has had to deal with the fact that he has to defend his work again and again against a very critical Austria, who has just won his football gold Generation, sees the high demands fail.

One of these claims would have been participation in a World Cup, but skiers need not worry next winter: there will be no football competition, Austria will not go to the World Cup in Qatar after the 2-1 loss against Wales.

Perhaps Franco Foda will soon no longer have to appear on the microphone of the ORF. The role of explainer of his own work never seemed to fit him very well anyway, so now he was standing in Cardiff and once again, or once again, talking about things he already knew. They had “a lot planned”, they “absolutely” wanted to go to the World Cup, the training gave him “good feelings”. At first they did well, a 1-0 lead “would have been nice”, in the end Wales “defended with flying colors”. Once again there were excuses that probably won’t be enough to secure the team boss job.

Austria misses out on the World Cup: to the surprise of some Austrians, a passable free kick taker: Gareth Bale.

To the surprise of some Austrians, a passable free kick taker: Gareth Bale.

(Photo: Matthew Childs/Action Images via Reuters)

But of course Austria could have taken the lead through Christoph Baumgartner in the 5th minute, they could have taken their chances, had the skills again to win this game, which David Alaba also acknowledged, saying “we could have deserved it.” “. somewhere.” The crucial vocabulary, however, was ‘perhaps’, ‘also’ and ‘somewhere’, but certainly not on a March night in Cardiff when it matters. It was Alaba’s words that have long best described what the golden generation lacked, regardless of manager: a clear bet that a team of such quality couldn’t play a World Cup tie against Wales. maybe somewherebut fully sovereign you must be able to win, and that maybe you are just a very boring and shiny golden generation if that is not the case.

Foda’s team does not win a match against a team that has been ahead of Austria in the world rankings for a long time.

The Austrians not only did not take advantage of the few chances they had in the game, but also invited Wales to the game. Baumgartner fouled in his own penalty area in the 25th minute, as if no one had told him before the game that Gareth Bale, one of the best free kick takers in the world, was playing on the other side. A short self-investigation on Youtube would have probably sufficed. In any case, Bale took advantage of the opportunity and with a perfect direct kick made it 1-0, after which Wales were left with the victories. Another fine single serve from Bale was enough to make it 2-0 in the 51st minute, but numerous counter chances could have resulted in a higher score.

Instead, the Austrians scored a follow-up goal, which is almost metaphorical for the curious detour from last year’s Nations League group win, which Foda’s side had taken to stay in the World Cup race. World: Marcel Sabitzer’s harmless shot. so wide that he arced over goalkeeper Wayne Hanessey and fell into the goal to make it 2-1 (64th). After that, Austria could no longer exert any real and lasting pressure, and Wales deservedly won in the end.

In the last four and a half years, Foda has not won a single competitive match against a team that is ahead of Austria in the world rankings. It’s a catastrophic record, embellished by some gutsy performances like against Italy in the European Championship last year. Coupled with tactical lateral or backward movement, it’s a balance that actually allows for the conclusion of letting Foda’s contract expire and starting over. ÖFB sporting director Peter Schöttel wants to “talk to everyone involved in the next few days” and “question everything”, he himself has long been questioned in the media.

Association chairman Gerhard Millitich, responsible for an association that has also developed backwards rather than laterally in parallel with the senior team in recent years, meanwhile emphasized that Foda will “of course” sit on the bench. trainers next Tuesday. So the team boss will probably still be able to watch the match against Scotland, once again at the Ernst Happel Stadium, after all, where the atmosphere had cooled considerably recently compared to Foda. Millitich announced a decision on increased staffing planning for April. And then, at the latest, it will be important for the Austrian national team to start again somewhere really good.


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