Gomez ends Austrian Euro2012 hopes

Austrian football fans were left frustrated once more as their team suffered a bitter home defeat against old rivals Germany on Friday.The Austrian national team performed extraordinarily well after Germany controlled the scenery only for the first 10 minutes in the sold-out Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna. Austria’s squad showed a lot of effort in creating danger to the goal kept by Manuel Neuer. However, it was Germany who took the lead. Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez was quickest to react after a corner one minute before half time.Austria were little shocked from this undeserved deficit and even upped their game in the second 45 minutes against a German team who had to do without some of their best players. Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose, Werder Bremen defender Per Mertesacker and several other stars were kept out of the squad due to injuries.Austria – who are coached by ex-Mainz 05 boss Dietmar Constantini – equalised the score in the 50th minute. The ball ended in the net of the German goal when VfL Wolfsburg defender Arne Friedrich attempted to clear after a dangerous cross by midfielder David Alaba.Austria missed several good opportunities to take the lead after the equaliser cheered by most of the 47,500 fans in the country’s most spacious football stadium. Once again, it was Gomez who caused the fans clad in red and white pain. The ex-VfB Stuttgart ace was unmarked when he found the net with a powerful header in the final minute of the fast and entertaining Euro2012 qualifier which was attended by German football legend Uwe Seeler, ex-Rapid Vienna captain Michael Konsel and Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger.Germany garnered 18 points in the group stage by winning all of their six group stage matches. Belgium is in second place with 11 points followed by Turkey (10) and Austria (7). Kazakhstan (3) are fifth, with Azerbaijan in last position (3). These standings mean Austria have only a small, theoretical chance to qualify for the European Championship 2012 which will take place in Poland and Ukraine. Teams who come first in the qualification groups seal a place in the Euro2012 group stage, while those who finish in second meet in a playoff.The most recent Austrian win against Germany dates back to 1986 when the three-time World Cup winners were beaten 4-1 in a friendly in Vienna. The former FIFA World Ranking leaders ended Austria’s dreams to reach the Euro2008 knockout stage when they beat the co-hosts of the event 1-0 in Vienna. While many Austrian football fans love to mention their team’s 3-2 victory against Germany in the 1978 World Cup, other supporters are of the opinion that they should leave those sweet memories behind them and face the reality.Austria aim to celebrate their first victory this year tomorrow (Tues) when they meet Latvia in a friendly at the UPC Arena in Graz. The match (kickoff: 8.30pm) will be broadcast live by ORF 1.Meanwhile, Viennese authorities said more than 200 Germans were put in custody ahead of Friday’s soccer clash when they caused damage to pubs in the city centre before attacking police officers. The offenders could be prosecuted over the occurrences. Many of the arrested rioters were previously convicted hooligans, according to Austrian newspapers.