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From 6pm vs Andorra: Test matches cause spectator grief for the Austrian Football Association (ÖF) team

From 6pm vs Andorra: Test matches cause spectator grief for the Austrian Football Association (ÖF) team

There are certain basic laws of football that cannot be broken. International matches in November, for example, which are also played in friendly matches, do not have the attraction worth storming stadiums for. This is best illustrated by the “throw of spectators” for Sunday’s friendly match between the Austrian national team (8.45pm at the Ernst Abel Stadium Vienna) against Italy. For a game set to open at the World Cup, which is being played anyway only because central marketing, which brings in a lot of money, demands it, a half-full stadium would be a great success. Not even the European champion is drawing crowds.

In the past, empty stadiums were often attributed to former team bosses, but the Austrian Football Association has to come to terms with the fact that temperatures around freezing point are expected in Vienna on Sunday, and that even Ralf Rangnick, with his most charismatic style of play, cannot provide. So much warmth to own a home to leave.

Around 20C is announced in Malaga today when Austria tests Andorra for the first time at 6pm. No. 151 in the world rankings should not be a stumbling block, though, as the emirate holds two wins, two draws and just one loss in its last five matches. “We know roughly what’s going to happen, how the team plays,” says team boss Rangnick of the tiny state from the Pyrenees, which has only two professionals at its disposal.

UEFA rejected Austria’s request, who were preparing for a training camp in Marbella from Monday through Saturday, to allow them to make more than six substitutions against Andorra. “We definitely want to prevent injury to players,” says Rangnick, who is likely to try a few things today. “We want to see how things evolve and how the individual players perform in their positions.”

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The ÖFB team wants to avoid embarrassment. “Everyone was beating us there,” says Leipzig professional Xaver Schlager, and notes that it is never easy to play friendlies after such a long autumn, but “everyone has to prove themselves. It is often the last impression that counts.” The matches against Andorra and Italy are the last before qualifying for the European Championship.