EM qualification: a fixed place for EM within reach


Actually, the team of team boss Irene Fuhrmann would have liked to cheer for the EM ticket on Tuesday evening in Altach. Since the game plan was mixed up in two groups still relevant for promotion due to some cancellations during the coronavirus crisis, the qualification could not be completed as planned. In any case, Austria does not have bad cards in the fight for a place among the top three runners-up who, in addition to the pool winners, have their ticket for the tournament in England that will only take place in July 2022.

Should Italy not win against Pool B penultimate Israel with six or more goals, the ÖFB troop is through. That is also the case if the second in group E is worse off than goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger and Co. (19 points, 22: 3 goals). Finland (18: 2) leads after six games with equal points in front of Portugal (16 points each, 8: 1). A direct duel is still pending, with Austria keeping their fingers crossed for the Finns. They are still facing a mandatory victory in Cyprus. The Portuguese with the significantly worse goal difference still have a very difficult task with the guest appearance in Scotland.

Victory goal for Austria

Nicole Billa scored the decisive goal for the ÖFB team in the 79th minute

“I’m extremely proud of the team”

If both groups do not play for Austria, you would have to try in the play-off in spring 2021 to get one of the last three EM tickets in the first and second leg. “Now it is no longer in our hands. We will observe the other groups and see what happens, ”said Fuhrmann. She only succeeded long-term coach Dominik Thalhammer in July and can make a positive assessment. All “mandatory victories” were achieved, and a 0-0 win was even wrested from France, third in the world,. Only at 3-0 in Guingamp there was nothing to gain.

“I am extremely proud of the team,” emphasized the 40-year-old. That forced the necessary luck on Tuesday. At the break it could have been 3-0 after a gala performance by Serbia’s Allegra Poljak, the Spanish legionnaire hit the bar right at the beginning (4th) and failed several times against Zinsberger. “I am pleased that I was able to give the team the support they needed,” said the Arsenal legionnaire. According to Fuhrmann, there was no access before the break. After a switch from three to four back after the break, the defense was more secure.

Billa ensures late redemption against Serbia

Moving forward, however, it took a long time until Nicole Billa (80) became the match winner, as in the first leg in Serbia. “We forced the opponent to make a bad pass by pressing, and the ‘Zadi’ (Zadrazil, note) saw correctly that I was free, and of course I won’t let that chance be taken away,” said the Hoffenheim goalgetter . The goal was “extremely important”. “We have done our homework in qualification.”

One of the few top opportunities led to flattering home success. “We fought and in the end we just put the ball in. We have shown that even one chance is enough to win a game like this, ”said Zinsberger. Fuhrmann also didn’t care how the victory came about, also due to “tired legs” after the France game. “We got three points, even if not in beauty. It was definitely not our best game, but you have to win a game like this first. The three points are what count, ”emphasized the ÖFB team boss.

Wenninger can still celebrate 100s

After the final whistle there was a proper celebration. Right in the middle was Carina Wenninger, who was called up as captain and made her 100th international match. “The sheer number of international matches is not that important for me. It’s about the moments that you experience together with the team. And of course 100 is a number that proves that you have already had a lot of great moments, and I’m proud of that, ”said the Bayern legionnaire. Only Nina Burger (109) and Sarah Puntigam (105) have more appearances.

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