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Fan-Vastic!

Co Hosts Austria were given the latest of lifelines to stay in the Euro 2008 competition, thanks to the intervention of the only Englishman on view. English referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot deep into stoppage time to leave both Austria and Poland still with ambitions for the knock out stages. Croatia’s surprise victory over favourites Germany means there is still a 3 horse race for the second qualifying spot.

Austria will be bhoyed by Croatia’s display knowing that the Germans are not the invincible team everyone had first thought, and that going into the final game there is still all to play for. In fairness the Austrian outfit were the better side, but, as in the opening game, were unable to make their advantage count or effect the score board. Once again going forward, Roland Linz failed to deliver and was replaced by the more effective Kienast. And when they did eventually score it was another substitute 38 year old, and now record breaking Vastic who converted. The oldest Euro championships scorer ever.

Poland owed a lot to Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boric as he continued to single handedly hold Austria at bay, denying a string of Austrian oppotunities, Martin Harnik was guilty of some glaring misses. Poland were solid, but as an attacking force will need to improve if they are to have any chance of beating the already qualified Croatians, there goal came from one of their few chances, Roger Guerreiro converting from close range, albeit suspiciously off side and that had seemed to be enough to send Austria on the same route as their fellow co hosts and out of the competition.

But Webb’s late intervention, his well judged decision to award a pen after Lewandowski had fouled Proedl, much to the Polish coaching staff’s disbelief, and Vastic held his nerve to convert and send the Austrian support delierious, even though they still have a mountain to climb. Polands hopes rest on Boruc being able to continue his excellent form, but they will have to imrpve dramatically going forward. Austria will hope to find the killer touch to add to the rest of there relatively well drilled team. And as we saw earlier in the day, you never can be too sure whats going to happen.

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