“If we don’t qualify directly and play in the play-offs, Franco will do the same,” Schottel said on Thursday at a meeting with reporters in Prater, Vienna. Its chances are pretty good due to a group win in Nations League 2020 – if actual World Cup qualification should go wrong.
The World Cup final in Qatar in November and December 2022 will be the first for Austria since 1998. If successful, the contract with Foda will be extended until after the World Cup.
Only group winners qualified directly.
In March 2022, the final three European World Cup tickets will be awarded in three four-way tournaments – each with a semi-final and a final without a second leg. Only ten group winners of the World Cup qualifiers qualified directly for Qatar. The twelve participants in the “Remaining Place Exchange” are the ten runners-up and the two best remaining group winners of the Nations League.
Austria has great opportunities there. Only if the two teams from the top division quintet France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Wales do not finish their qualifying groups in one of the first two places, the OFB team will be eliminated from the list.
Austria in World Cup elimination will continue in early September in Moldova, Israel and Scotland. To stay in the race for first place, you need three wins after a false start in March, including a 4-0 home loss against Denmark. Strong EM performance gives hope. “You’ve set the bar too high,” Schöttel said of the FB kicker.
Strategic Discussion for Schöttel “The Absurd”
The discussion, started by an article published in the news magazine “Profile” in late June, that Foda had set the strategic direction in the European Championship to the key players, was dismissed by Schottel as “absurd”. “It is entirely the team boss who determines who plays and when they are swapped. But what does every coach in the world do while sitting with his players?
He knew what had happened over the past few months “so that it would work,” Schottel insisted. “We learned a lesson from the march.” Later defeats against European Championship semi-finalists Denmark would have disappeared “key players” with Martin Hintergger, Konrad Laimer and Marko Arnatovic, as well as suspended Florian Grylitz. After that, however, he thoroughly dealt with all the procedures at the European Championships – from breakfast to the best time to train. “It was good to sharpen it again.”
The Feel-Good Factor as the Secret to EM’s Success
Schöttel rated the choice of accommodation in Seefeld as a deciding factor for the success of the European Championship. “We learned that the feel-good factor should not be underestimated. It was like coming home after the Games.” In return, he also accepted to travel to the Games. According to Shotel, managing director of FODA and OFB Planning for a possible EM camp with Bernhard Neuhold had already begun in March 2018.
From the start of preparation at Bad Tatzmannsdorf on 27 May to the end of the European Championship in the round of 16 against Italy on 26 June (after 1:2 extra time), there were also difficult conditions – for example playing with health issues. Analyst Stefan Osen reason in the immediate preparation of the ten-day tournament. The supervisory staff and team grew together significantly during the year. Schöttel: “We were together for five weeks, and after that no one said: Luckily, I’ll be home.”
The main attraction was the Round of 16 performance in London. “In the earlier days, everyone really believed that we could beat Italy,” said the ex-international. Above all, he was impressed by the confidence of the Austrians. “That was also not established. Franco gave them very well.” One argument was that the Italian league was essentially playing against the German Bundesliga. “Not much difference.”
Of the 17 FB players who played against Italy, 14 made their money in Germany last year. Schöttel would appreciate it if some players dare to jump to another league in the summer – for example Italy, Spain or England. Candidates include Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig), Grillitsch (1899 Hoffenheim) and Sasa Kalajadzik (VfB Stuttgart). The sports director said that new impulses will always be good for a union. “It would be extremely exciting and helpful if we could broaden ourselves a bit.”
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