ÖFB-U21 wins sensationally 2-0 against France in European Championship qualifying

2023-11-17 19:42:28

Austria’s U21 national football team has made an impressive comeback in the fight for a European Championship ticket. The ÖFB selection celebrated a 2-0 win against the big Group H qualifying favorites France on Friday evening in the Innviertel Arena in Ried and is third in four games with seven points. Thanks to a brace from Paul Koller (25th, 75th), the gap to the previously flawless French and second place Slovenia was reduced to two points.

The qualification will not continue until March 26, 2024 with a home game against the winless bottom team Cyprus. The winners of the nine groups and the three best runners-up in the group will qualify for the final round with 16 teams in the summer of 2025. The remaining six runners-up will determine three other European Championship participants in a play-off. The success against France was well deserved, the aluminum housing prevented further goals four times. At the end of the year there will be a test match in Ried against North Macedonia on Tuesday (6 p.m./live ORF Sport +).

The French only looked better in the early stages in front of 2,655 spectators, with ÖFB defender Koller picking up a yellow card for a tactical foul after just one and a half minutes. After the loss of Johann Lepenant, who probably had a serious knee injury, there wasn’t much to be seen from the guests. With Salzburg player Lucas Gourna-Douath coming on, there was a lack of ideas on offense. The home team surprisingly dominated the action and also created a clear increase in shots and chances.

Guillaume Restes was able to cancel out a shot from the ball with a foot save (21′). After the corner was awarded, the unchallenged WAC offensive player missed the target with a volley. Another corner kick led to success a short time later. A long cross from Yusuf Demir brought Leo Querfeld back into the middle, and Koller headed in there. The 2-0 was in the air, Christoph Lang hit the crossbar and Demir fired the shot past the virtually empty goal and onto the outside bar (30th). The team coached by former star striker Thierry Henry only came dangerously into the penalty area once, when Elye Wahi aimed past the goal (36th).

Immediately after the restart, Nikolas Polster saved the home team from equalizing with a foot save in a duel with Rayan Cherki (47th). Almost in return, Nikolas Veratschnig shot over after a counterattack. Koller missed a header brace (59′). Things became even more dangerous in the 70th minute when Manuel Polster hit the bar with a shot from an extremely tight angle. However, the missed opportunities did not take revenge as Koller was successful again after a standard situation. This time after Demir corner and Ballo overhead kick as a result of Restes defending with his foot from close range.

After that, success was no longer in danger. Bernhard Zimmermann even hit the bar again (95th). After the 1-2 test against Norway and the bitter 1-0 qualifying loss in Slovenia, there was a really strong sign of life.

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