Enough to look at the world rankings: As number 33, Austria was a clear outsider in Group A with vice world champions Croatia (15), world champions Denmark (10) and France (4), so anything but relegation would be a surprise. At the moment, it was enough for just one win, which came initially in Croatia, when they won 3-0 in the head coach’s debut.
This was followed by unfortunate points losses against Denmark (1-2) and France (1-1), before two deserved defeats, followed by Copenhagen (0-2) and Saint-Denis (0-2). 1:3 against Croatia was again in an avoidable category, and that’s where the team wants to start.
Rangnick criticizes himself
For the Austrian national team, hopes of staying at the top of the Nations League on Sunday were not fulfilled. A 1-3 draw with Croatia at the Ernst Habil Stadium relegated Group B to the Second Division. Team boss Ralph Rangnick was self-critical.
“We have to pull games like this on our side and decide for ourselves. That will be very important when we head towards the European Championship,” Rangnick said. David Alaba expressed it in a similar way: “We played good games often, but in the end we were left empty handed. We have to get rid of this slowly. But when I look at our team, how we play, how ambitious it is, I’m not worried about the future.”
‘There was more in it in general’
Unsurprisingly, no tears were shed after his relegation to the United Nations League Two. The result was so predictable and the competition so unimportant. Friendly Games Plus served Rangnick primarily to get to know his new team better at the highest level and continue to shape them for the future.
“We played four good games out of six and dominated games for long periods. Two away games in Denmark and France we didn’t play well, so we deserved to lose. Unfortunately we only scored four points in the other four games. There was more, and we still needed to further development,” the 64-year-old summarized on Sunday.
In the last match against Croatia, his student Christoph Baumgartner realized the reversal of the group stage. “We showed we can play with world-class teams at this level. But we obviously miss Alzerl.” Just like him, to finally become a regular at Rangnick, who was already under Franco Foda. His game against the ball, a key element under his leadership Rangnick, you still seem to be able to improve.
Cruelty and position questions
It is also possible to win matches against these top teams. This will be crucial if you want to take part in the European Championships in Germany. You don’t just want to be there, “but also play a role,” Rangnick confirms several times. “Because of our ruthlessness, we do not score or concede at crucial moments. The next step should be that we not only bring the great nations to the brink of defeat, but ‘kill them’ and bring the win back home.”
Alaba also took up the athletic killer instinct. We have already proven it, but often not. Especially when we play against such teams. We are in the development stage. But we have to do something to take the next step. Today we showed what we set out to do for over 60 minutes. Now is the time to show this over the course of 90 minutes. “Rangnick took the same line: ‘It’s also about playing games like this without a clean sheet or conceding one goal max.'” Even if it is painful now, it has brought new insights once again.”
Meanwhile, the previous findings, namely overstaffing and understaffing in posts, were confirmed. “We have a lot of good defenders and a lot of good midfielders as well,” explained Rangnick, who allowed Marcel Sabitzer to play there this time, as we have problems with full-back positions.
When it comes to goalkeepers, the German has remained low at the moment, but Patrick Bentz has recently done more self-promotion in France than Heinz Lindner did on Sunday – also because the Reims goalkeeper presents himself better with the ball at his feet.
Camp as the next step on the road to the European Championship
Next item on the agenda: The qualifying groups for the European Championship will be decided on 9 October. After landing, Austria was pulled out of the second pot, which is not a broken leg either. “We have enough self-confidence with this team to qualify for the European Championship, regardless of whether we came out of the first or second pot,” said Rangnick, who called for a training camp in Spain. Screwing is to continue in November.
In 2022 she will still play in Malaga against Andorra and on the opening day of the World Cup in Qatar in Vienna against European champions Italy. One match – against Italy – would have been enough for Rangnick. “But we have to play two because of the contracts.” For now, the process remains the deciding factor in the term of Rangnick’s term. “We are making sure we have enough courses in Spain that will take us further development.” Before qualifying for the European Championship in March 2023, it really comes down to business.
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