Austria look to stun Germany
Tenero, June 15:
What is celebrated in Austria as one of the nation’s greatest football successes is known in neighboring Germany as the “Shame of Cordoba.”
Defending champion Germany was eliminated 3-2 by Austria at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, in a match in which Austria had nothing to gain and Germany everything to lose. It remains one of the most famous Austrian sports victories over their bigger neighbour and it came after 47 years of trying.
Now, 30 years later, the Austrians are again in the position to ruin Germany’s tournament when they meet on Monday in Vienna in their final Group B match at the European Championship 2008. Germany must not lose if they are to advance to the quarter-finals, while co-host Austria could hope for a place in the last eight with a win, depending what happens in the other game between Croatia and Poland.
Germany coach Joachim Loew has ruled out a “second Cordoba,” although his team finds itself under tremendous pressure after losing unexpectedly 2-1 to Croatia. Austria is
the lowest-ranked team in the tournament.
But thanks to an injury-time penalty that earned it a 1-1 draw with Poland, Austria can now hope. Loew will reshuffle his lineup since defender Marcell Jansen is out with a shoulder injury and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is suspended. Other changes were possible.
Poland need big win:
Bad Waltersdorf: Poland need a big win against Croatia and a lot of help in Monday’s other Group B match to keep alive their hopes of advancing to the quarter-finals at the Euro 2008.
Poland must win in Klagenfurt over Croatia, which has already secured top spot in the group, by three or four goals, and need Austria to beat Germany in Vienna on Monday in order to advance. “The only thing we can do is try to win our match with Croatia, and for the rest we are in the waiting room,” Poland coach Leo Beenhakker said. It’s a match that means everything for Poland - and nothing for Croatia.
Coach Slaven Bilic’s team has already wrapped up a spot in the knockout stage with wins over Austria and Germany. With that in mind, Bilic indicated he will likely change his lineup to rest most of his top stars for Croatia’s quarter-final match against either the Czech Republic or Turkey.
Poland need to believe, too, that they can win big against Croatia to keep their slim hopes of advancing alive. But the Poles have not shown at the tournament that they possess the firepower to score heaps of goals, let alone to do so against a talented Croatian side that outclassed pre-tournament favourite Germany.— AP