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Austria's already in a 'final' at European Championship _ but not the final it hoped for

Austria's already in a 'final' at European Championship _ but not the final it hoped for

Austria is looking at Thursday's game against Poland as a must-win match in order to reach the quarterfinals at the European Championship.
The Euro 2008 co-hosts got the start they didn't want Sunday, losing 1-0 to Croatia on a fourth-minute penalty kick by Luka Modric. With Germany also in Group B, there is little room left for error.
"We are already in the final, but not the final we hoped for," striker Roland Linz said. "There are no excuses, we must win against Poland."
Austria was the better team for most of the match after a shaky start, said Linz, who didn't receive many chances to score and was substituted by Roman Kienast in the 73rd minute.
"It was a tough match. Everyone did the utmost, so it's quite frustrating that this didn't pay off," Linz said. "The supporters were great. We hope to give them something back on Thursday."
Forward Martin Harnik said Austria was "very, very nervous" at the start of its first ever European Championship match.
"It was incredible, we were so impressed," he said. "We needed almost the entire first half to settle down. Only in the second half, we found some fluency."
Austria coach Josef Hickersberger wanted four points from the opening two matches, but captain Andreas Ivanschitz said qualifying for the quarterfinals was still within reach.
"I am very proud of our performance," Ivanschitz said. "We were completely down after the fourth minute, but it was great to see how the team got back up again and played really well in the second half."
Ivanschitz thinks Austria doesn't need to change much against Poland.
"Of course we will analyze the Croatia game first, but I am optimistic," he said. "The result was a huge disappointment, obviously, but we showed our strengths and should take them with us into the Poland game."
Midfielder Ronald Gercaliu, a surprise starter at the expense of Christian Fuch, said Austria played well at the end of the game.
"Before that, much of our passing was too imprecise," Gercaliu said. "We lost too many balls to get really dangerous, so we should avoid that against Poland."


Updated : 2021-01-22 23:37 GMT+08:00