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Hickersberger concedes Austria's limited attacking prowess a concern ahead of playing Poland

Hickersberger concedes Austria's limited attacking prowess a concern ahead of playing Poland

Austria needs to avoid defeat against Poland on Thursday if it is to realistically stay in contention of reaching the quarterfinals at the European Championship.
That means playing positively _ not an ideal situation for a team lacking in attacking power, Austria coach Josef Hickersberger said Monday.
"We made progress in many departments of the game over the last two years," Hickersberger said. "But in the zone of truth, the last 20 to 25 meters in front of our opponent's goal, we still have a lot of work to do."
Austria lost 1-0 to Croatia and Poland was beaten 2-0 by Germany in the opening Group B matches Sunday.
Austria dominated the second half against Croatia at Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna, showing some fluent play but was lacking in its final passes. The team hardly created any scoring opportunities with most shots on goal coming from outside the area.
Martin Harnik's movement troubled the defense, but at times lacked support as he and forward partner Roland Linz, who scored 12 goals for Sporting Braga this season, seldom received any quality possession from the midfield.
"For Linz, it would be better if we could play with a left and a right winger," Hickersberger said. "But we can't do that. We have to adapt ourselves to the opponent. We don't have the class of teams like Germany or the Netherlands, we are not Brazil where it's always the opponent who adapts."
Hickersberger chose the 1.90-meter (6-foot-3) Roman Kienast to replace Linz in the 73rd minute instead of the 1.76-meter (5-foot-9) Erwin Hoffer because of his height for crosses into the area.
"Hoffer wouldn't be the right solution," Hickersberger said. "He has different qualities, is fast but needs more room to do his moves. That room wasn't there against Croatia."
Two tall center forwards _ Marc Janko and Stefan Maierhofer _ were included in Austria's preliminary Euro 2008 squad but were dropped from the final 23-man roster.
The midfielders had trouble reaching Austria's front line. Captain Andreas Ivanschitz didn't manage to dictate play, but substitutes Ivica Vastic and Umit Korkmaz belatedly strengthened the team's attack.
"Kienast, Vastic and Korkmaz did a really great job and brought the team new spirit, but I can reveal that not all three of them will start against Poland," Hickersberger said.
Hickersberger said he hadn't yet thoroughly analyzed the Croatia match, but praised his team's fighting spirit after trailing after just four minutes.
"It was a shock, of course, and we needed some time to recover, but we finally handled it well," Hickersberger said. "As a host of the European Championship, you just don't expect to get a penalty against you in the first couple of minutes of the opening match. But I'm not criticizing the referee because his decision was right."


Updated : 2021-04-14 23:20 GMT+08:00