Former Dutch international Wesley Sneijder has pulled Austria out of the second tie into the group with France. This was followed by the Dutch winners and play-offs, with whom ÖFB team boss Ralf Rangnick will compete at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. It will be against Poland, Wales, Finland or Estonia on June 21. The Netherlands, whom ÖFB have already faced in the last European Championship finals in 2021 (0:2), await the final group match on June 25.
“We have got a very strong group. However, we are confident in ourselves, we will prepare well and we will go to the finals in good spirits,” Peter Schotel, sports director of the Austrian Football Association, said at an initial reaction at Hamburg’s Elbe Philharmonic Hall. President of the Austrian Football Association, Klaus Mitterdorfer: “It’s definitely not an easy group, but you have to accept what comes.” “I think we have a great, cohesive team. “That’s why I’m confident we can withstand strong competitors like France and the Netherlands.”
The Austrians last competed with the French in the Nations League in the summer of 2022. After a 1-1 draw at home in Vienna, Rangnick’s side had pretty much no chance in the 2-0 loss in Paris. France is considered the bookmakers’ favorite to win the European Championship. Equipe Tricolore already achieved this in 1984 and 2000. In addition, the French won their second World Cup title after 1998 in 2018 under coach Didier Deschamps and with attacking stars Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann.
France and the Netherlands were already in the same group in the European Championship qualifiers. The French won both duels (4:0 and 2:1) and won the group with 22 points out of a possible 24, ahead of the “orange” and Greece. Under new coach Ronald Koeman, the Dutch had to worry about participating in the European Championship for a relatively long time, but in the end they only lost points in the qualifiers to France.
At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Dutch only reached a penalty shootout in the quarter-finals against eventual world champions Argentina. After the tournament, Koeman succeeded Louis van Gaal as “Bonds coach”. Under his predecessor Frank de Boer, the Netherlands defeated ÖFB in the group stage of the 2021 EM European Championship in Amsterdam, but were eliminated by the Czech Republic in the round of 16. The 1988 European champions will now become the first team Austria will face for the second time in the Men’s European Championship.
In the UEFA Nations League play-off round, Poland, Estonia, Wales and Finland meet first. Poland and Wales are favourites. In the final home advantage match, the winner of Wales vs. Finland has the home advantage. In the European Championship, the top two teams in each group and the best four of the six third-placed teams qualify for the round of 16. If the Austrians end up in first or second place in the group, they will play in the first knockout round against the runner-up from Group E (Belgium, Romania, Slovakia or the play-off winners) or Group F (Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic or the winner of the play-off ). The finals will be held from June 14 to July 14.
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