Wednesday, May 28, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Austria Team Preview

We continue our Euro 2008 previews with Group B, which features co-hosts Austria, Croatia, Germany and Poland.

The squad: If you're thinking you haven't seen much of the Austrians on the world stage, you're right. The co-hosts are in a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup and making their Euro debut.

The players: Austria will pin their hopes on the playmaking abilities of captain Andreas Ivanschitz. Ivanschitz spent the '07-08 season with Greek side Panathinaikos, one of only a few players to play outside of Austria. Another is striker Martin Harnik, a key member of Austria's run to the semis at the 2007 U20 World Cup. Harnik came off the bench this year for Bundesliga runners-up Werder Bremen.

The schedule: vs. Croatia (6/8); vs. Poland (6/12); vs. Germany (6/16)

The prediction: Most Austrians will be happy if the home team doesn't embarrass themselves. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

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