Austria exit Euro2012 race
Austria will not compete in next year’s European Football Championship in Poland and Ukraine after failing to beat Turkey last night (Tues).
The team of Dietmar Constantini only reached a goalless draw against the squad managed by former Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink at the sold-out Ernst Happel Stadium. Around one third of the 47,000 fans at the venue were Turks or people of Turkish origin living in Austria.
Austria performed better than last Friday when they took a 2-6 pounding by three-time world champs Germany in Gelsenkirchen. However, Werder Bremen striker Marko Arnautovic and Bayern Munich ace David Alaba failed to score after creating a decent number of chances throughout the match. A goal by Martin Harnik was disallowed in the 85th minute due to an offside position of the VfB Stuttgart star.
Especially Alaba and Julian Baumgartlinger – who recently left Austria Vienna to join Mainz 05 – played well. Both proved their high technical skills by keeping the Austrian game’s pace up as the team needed a clear win to keep the dream of participating in Euro2012 alive.
Turkey found a few chances to net as well. Austria Vienna keeper Pascal Grünwald, who earned his first cap last night, saved a penalty executed by Atletico Madrid winger Arda Turan which Turkey was awarded in overtime.
Austria remains fourth in their qualification group after garnering only one point yesterday. The team bagged eight points in as many matches. Euro2012 qualification group A is headed by the German national team – who have won all their matches so far – with 24 points, followed by Turkey (14 points) and Belgium (12 points). Azerbaijan are fifth (seven points), while Kazakhstan are last on the table at the moment with just three points.
Those national teams who finish their groups in first place qualify directly for next summer’s tournament while all second-placed squads face each other in a knockout stage. Austria will have no chance to climb to second position with only two more matches to play. The team playing in red-white-red jerseys face Azerbaijan away from home on 7 October before playing in Kazakhstan four days later.
Rumours had it that Austrian Football Federation (ÖFB) boss Leo Windtner would axe Constantini due to the team’s poor results ahead of the regular end of his contract. However, Windtner announced today the former Austria Vienna coach would remain in charge until the end of this year. Ex-Eintracht Frankfurt boss Christoph Daum, SV Ried manager Paul Gludovatz, former Werder Bremen captain Andreas Herzog and Sturm Graz coach Franco Foda could succeed Constantini, according to Austrian sports newspapers.
The decision to appoint Constantini has been praised by many fans and papers two and a half years ago. However, the Tyrolean football coach’s reputation has suffered significantly among supporters and writers because of several controversial decisions and his alleged unwillingness to admit mistakes and show a certain amount of self-criticism.