First of all as an introduction, let's present the team that marks the golden age of the Austrian national team with the "Wunderteam" (the Wonderful team) managed by Hugo Meisl and trained by Jimmy Hogan.
This, with the typical team of that 1931-1933 era or more exactly the 1931 team when the phenomenon was spreading across the Europe.
It is the real core of the legendary team. Sesta, though he only started to appear on the team in 1932, has his name written as he was a clear and definitive replacement for Blum and still was the sarter at the 1934 World Cup.
|Austria 1931, '32, '33, the Wunderteam|
Noticeable absents on this drawing : the left-half Nausch who became a starter since 1932 (and 4 times as the captain of the team) and who then missed to play at the World Cup. He'd be the captain afterwards when the team would be less wonderful under the Nazi regime. He's still the one who captained the Austria team that beats England in '36 by 2-1 (pairing with Gall, the regular in '31 but less in '32, who played right-half at this occasion). Numerically, Nausch was the successor of Braun (and one could argue that he was a superior player) but he was not on the sides that won the most prestigious victories.
Sesta (who appears on the drawing) was the successor of Blum since October '32 so just before the game at Wembley stadium in gross. As for Rainer, who was 5 years older than Schramseis and an international player since 1924, he won again his spot over the last named at the same time as Sesta entered the team. Rainer even won the armband that Nausch will definitely inherit a bit after as he was back and that Rainer was not selected anymore, in '35 (Nausch stopped in '37).
Nausch, Rainer and Sesta played against England in 1932 (instead of Braun, Schramseis and Blum), however the "real Wunderteam", wich is more spring 1931 to spring 1932 (though we can go further, until February '33 ,as traditionally) is the one as presented on the drawing, in FYT's opinion or according to the FYT's view on it.
Thus, Austria enters its first World Cup finals in 1934 in Italy. Not helped by the weather conditions to display their football made of redoubled passes and of dribbles, no more by the refereeing, the "Wünderteam" was also at the end of its life cycle". The beautiful game once practiced by the Austrian truely did wonders from May 1931 with a 5-0 win against their model Scotland in Vienna (with Bican as the inside right) to the 11th December 1932 (6-1 in Brussels) or February '33 (4-0 in Paris). On the 7th December, they had lost with the honors at Wembley stadium (4-3).
Along the way, Germans and Hungarians had been completely routed. Italy had been beaten once, in 1932 in Wien, by 2-1 (after a defeat in Milan on the same score in February '31).
Once again, the best for them would have been playing the World Cup in '31 or '32, when they won the Central European International tournament over the Azzuri by beating them in this match that was already mentioned.
It is now time to present the 1934 team.
Austria, Semi-finalist and 4th at the 1934 World Cup in Italy.
Sindelar, Schall and Bican were the scorers against France in the round of 16 (3-2 a.e.t.), Horvath and Zischek were against Hungary in the quarter-finals (2-1) and again in the third place match (3-2 for Germany). It is by 1-0 that Austria was beaten by Italy in the Semi-finals.
Horvath, 31 years, was the inside left (and scored) in the quarter-finals against Hungary an in the 3rd place match against Germany but he cannot be considered as a first team or starting player.
Four years later, Austria withdraws because of the Anschluss. One year before, they had qualified to the finals by beating Latvia.
They reappear in 1954 making it through until the semi-finals but they'd be severely beaten here by the eventual winners, an invigorate Germany or by West Germany more exactly.
As for first post-war World Cup in 1950, Austria withdrew since the qualifications in '49 claiming that its team was too inexperienced to play it. Their first opponent had to be Turkey in the qualifiers who withdrew as well thereafter whilst they had qualified automatically.
Austria, Semi-finalist and 3rd at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland.
Austria v Scotland : 1-0 (Probst)
Austria v Czechoslovakia : 5-0 (Stojaspal x2, Probst x3)
(Uruguay topped the group, the four teams only played two games each)
Austria v Switzerland : 7-5 (Wagner x3, A. Körner x2, Ocwirk, Probst)
West Germany v Austria : 6-1 (Probst)
3rd place match :
Austria v Uruguay : 3-1 (Stojaspal pen., o.g., Ocwirk)
Dienst played at the centre forward position in the very first match (against Scotland) and left winger in the very last (the third place match). Schlegler played against Scotland, numerically instead of Happel and in the semis instead of Barschandt.
Probst was the second best scorer in the tournament alongside the Swiss Hügi and the German Morlock with six goals, behind Kocsis of Hungary who found the end of nets eleven times.
That Hungarian side were by many aspects the heirs of the Wunderteam.
Austria finsihed last of the Group A at the World Cup '58 in Sweden. Defeated 3-0 then 2-0 by Brazil and the Soviet Union, Austria drew with England for their last group stage match (2-2). Happel, Hanappi, Koller and A.Körner were still on the team and the others from '54 were not truely replaced. Schmied only played against the Soviet team.
In the early 60s (1960-61), with a new generation of players, Austria seemed to know a sort of revival (though in different fashion than the Wunderteam) but couldn't qualify to any tournament.
They have had a good sequence of wins that occured after they were eliminated on the road to the first Euro finals ever by France (quarter-finals). The French press had observed that Austria was making a sort of come-back at the highest level but in the prolongation of their Swedish summer, France won quite easily with Kopa and Fontaine on the team, almost for the last time.
Making those laudatory comments was not all about bluff or about to spice things up from the French as proven with that sequence of victories that happened right after against the likes of Scotland, the Soviet Union, Spain, Hungary, Italy in 1960; England, Hungary and the Soviet Union again in '61.
In friendlies though whilst in 1961, when the mentioned teams had for their objective to qualify for the next World Cup in Chile, Austria withrdrew from the qualifications process. In their group, they had to meet Wales and Spain.
In November '61, Austria is defeated in Yugoslavia then the year '62 would be awful and in the end, it is only some semblance of a revival that would not even be confirmed until the end of the decade and beyond. In spite of one player, a techncial one like the great Austrian players of past and annouced as a possible future great in Europe. The why we lingered on this generation. The one who was seen as a "little Kopa" by the French press at the begining of the 60s.
This young man who was the main player of the Austrian attack in those times was Hof. He was seconded by the way less technical and way more physical Nemec. Hanappi was still there. Incidentally, Hof did not play in either of the two legs played against France in '59 and '60. His international career knew a stop in the mid 60's and he ended it in 1967-68 scoring the last 6 of his 28 goals in 37 caps. 6 anecdotical goals.
One of the best talents Austria had had since some time though, and that they won't have again for a long time.
Since then we'll get some news from Austria only in the late 70's. Austria Wien was the runner-up in the Cup Winners Cup and the national team has qualified to the World Cup, held in Argentina. We're in 1978.
Austria, last of the group A in the second phase of the World Cup 1978.
First Round :
Austria v Spain : 2-1 (Schachner, Krankl)
Austria v Sweden : 1-0 (Krankl pen.)
Brazil v Austria : 1-0
Second Round :
Austria v Holland : 1-5 (Obermayer)
Italy v Austria : 1-0
Austria v West Germany : 3-2 (o.g, Krankl x2)
Here, we have quite some team again.
Hickersberger is a right midfielder who could attack as well but in a different style of Kreuz who was more of a "natural striker" so to speak : more like an attacking midfielder concerning the first named, more like a winger/ striker for the second. Hickersberger defended more too, or in any case a bit better.
Jara and Schachner were in balance during the whole competition except in the very first match of it when they played together. Schachner was preffered to Jara in the very last game against West Germany but was subbed out at the 70th minute. For Oberacher, another young striker of 24 years. Schachner was only 21. Jara was 28).
In the Euro '80 qualifiers, Austria missed to make the finals (8-team tournament) quite for a few, finishing 1 pt behind Belgium and they were, with Yugoslavia, Poland and France one of the "best second" (before that, in the Euro Nations Cup qualifiers, they were neatly beaten and eliminated as suggested and later on, in the next Euro qualifiers, it would be the same, with even worse results but let's continue it chronologically).
Then, Austria finished second in the group D in the second phase of the World Cup 1982.
No major changes since the '78 team so this formation will not be presented. One note though : Welzl generally entered in attack in the second half, like against Algeria in the second group stage match and then in the two games of the second round.
As for that infamous game with West Germany...
Austria would reappear on the international scene only 8 years later.
1st round exit at Italia '90.
Beaten by 1-0 by Italy then Czechoslovakia, winner of the U.S by 2-1 in their last game, the team quite shuffled through the three games.
The centre-forward Polster (0 goals scored) and the young (attacking) midfielder Herzog were the stars. The forwards Ogris and Rodax were the two scorers.
1st round exit at France '98. In spite of 0 wins, Austria was far to be ridiculous though really, it was difficult : 3 goals scored in the injury time to get two draws against Cameroon and Chile and to save the honour against Italy in a 1-2 loss.
Like Herzog and the veteran Polster (34 years old), Schöttel (31) was on the 1990 team. Herzog was subbed off at the 82nd minute in the fist game agianst Cameroon then made his last two World Cup appearances coming from the bench. He's scored from the penalty-spot against Italy. Polster was the scorer against Cameroon and Vastic was against Chile.
The team had some other good names with first the keeper Konsel, the defender Feiersinger, the midfielders Cerny (who was out at the half-time of the match with Chile) and Kübauher (who couldn't play the full 90 minutes against Chile and Italy)... without forgetting the 24 years old forward Mario Haas.
Apart from the innamovible attacking duo Polster and Vastic as well as the innamovible back-three Schöttel, Pfeffer and Feiersinger, the starting players changed quite a lot in just three games thus the absence of a layout for this team.
Group stage exit at the Euro 2008 on home soil. That was the first time that Austria entered an Euro tournament.
Difficult to present a typical team over only three games during wich the team has changed quite a lot again.
The announced star of the team was the number 10 Ivanschitz, 25 years old. We'll then cite the midfielder Aufhauser, the defenders Stranzl and Prödl. Vastic came from the bench in the two first games and scored an equalizer from the penalty spot against Poland in order to win 1 point in this group after an initial loss to Croatia (1-0, Modric pen.) and before a 1-0 loss to neighbours Germany. A 22 years old left back named Christian Fuchs played this last game by the way.
Group stage exit at the Euro 2016 in France (24-team tournament).
For the first time Austria qualified to the Euro finals by topping their group which included Russia (2nd) and Sweden (3rd). This, without conceding one single deafeat.
During the finals, a draw with the eventual champion Portugal in the second game after a loss to Hungary and before another loss to Iceland sealed their fate. Result : last of the group F.
Fuchs was this time the captain, Arnautovic the successor of Ivanschitz and Alaba from Bayern was the player with a high profile.
Their only goal was scored by the young forward Schöpf and not the veteran centre-forward Janko. Prödl was still part of the squad but was awful as a defensive midfielder. The right-back Dragovic was sent-off in the first game. A catastrophe in sum.
In the UEFA 2018-2019 Nations League B, Austria has registered one loss to Bosnia (1-0, Dzeko) and one win over Northern Ireland (1-0, Arnautovic) so far.