The test international against World Cup quarter-finalist Sweden is a further assessment of the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) team’s position today. Without captain Julian Baumgartlinger, the Foda team wants to prove their strength.
Vienna, Innsbruck – The football world was turned upside down at the World Cup a few weeks ago, in particular with the preliminary round out of the dethroned World Champion Germany. Today’s opponent from Sweden, who surprisingly marched into the quarter-finals while the ÖFB team was already on holiday, also made sure of this. Before that, in the era under Neo team boss Franco Foda, the start record was set with five wins in a row (including the historic 2-1 win over Germany), before Brazil showed the ÖFB team the limits again. What does all this mean for tonight?
You use an English proverb: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift.” What was yesterday is history. What comes tomorrow – looking ahead to the Nations-League kick-off next Tuesday in Bosnia – is still uncertain. And the “gift” of (footballer) life can only be found in today. “You have to prove yourself again and again,” Foda sums it up everywhere: “There are no test matches for us”.
A dress rehearsal for the Bosnia match against the Scandinavians can only take place to a limited extent, especially since more high and second balls as well as some days later technically possibly more miserable kickers will be waiting today. In the game with the ball, however, the “new” rehearsed 3-4-3 should show automatisms. “We only concentrated on Sweden and then have four days to tune in to Bosnia,” Foda says, focusing on day-to-day business.
The 52-year-old German clearly did not let anyone mimic the injured Julian Baumgartlinger’s part in the midfield centre of Vienna’s Generali Arena yesterday. It will nevertheless be interesting to see who can begin to replace the fighting power and experience of “Jules” against the strong Swedes, with whom some of the regulars will possibly first take their seats on the bench.
The fact that yesterday at the final press conference with Bavaria star David Alaba and West Ham regional Marko Arnautovic, the two ÖFB capacity bearers sat next to Foda was self-explanatory after the Baumgartlinger breakdown. Normally the two “Spezls” are the last to arrive at international matches. At the next two appearances they will probably be the beginning and the end of the ÖFB starting eleven chain:
Alaba, who already acted as captain, is getting the bandage today; Arnautovic may celebrate its premiere as ÖFB captain on Tuesday in Bosnia. “On the whole, nothing changes. I’ve always tried to take on responsibility and go first,” Alaba stressed, while Arnautovic (“Push the team”) nodded approvingly. “We don’t have to look at what the Swedes are doing, we have enough quality,” Arnie wants to let the muscles play again.
Despite the short preparation time, Foda is also happy about a wide range of well-trained players. Knowing that a positive result will again be a question of willingness. Otherwise, see even world champion Germany, the others quickly displace one another. This is true in internal competition as well as in external comparison. Consequently, everyone should score best with (leadership) quality. Ted Bingo has free bingo tickets to various jackpot games.