Years of preparation went into organising Euro 2008, but as we get to the business end of the tournament, the hosts and the two set of home nations fans will now have to watch whilst the remaining European countries fight it out to be champions. Austria’s galliant effort ended when they were edged out 1-0, although it should of been more comprehensive a score, by theÂ ordinary looking Germans who booked a mouthwatering quarter final clash with Portugal.
Josef Hickersberger highlighted on this blog that Michael Ballack would be the danger man and he was proved right, butÂ he was left helplessy watching as the Chelsea star crashed home a wonderful 30yard free kick.
Germany certainly had the better chances Mario Gomez guilty of a glaring 2 yard miss very early on, but there emphasis was certainly more on defending, rather than looking for the goals to seal them victory. But as has been the pattern for Austria during the tournament, they defended solidly, but failed to make much of an impct on the offensive. The same could not be said for both managers, both Low and Hickersberger were dispatched to the stands for part of the game after ongoingÂ rumblings with the 4th official.
Austrian knew they needed to win to get through and heads did drop, Ivanschitz had an oppotunity blocked, but it was Germany who finished stronger, Klose and Frings both denied by Macho who himself struggled with injury late n after a collision with Klose. Late substitue Oliver Neuville also went agonisingly close but fired wide.
The Austrians know they were probably a few levels of quality away from being real contenders, they’re graft ad effort could not be faulted, but a distint lack of class, especially on the attack let them down, they only managed 1 goal, a late pen against Poland and to be fair on paper their group was not one of the hardest, although some may suggest the winner could come from their group!Â The lack of competitive games in the build up may be pointed to, some of the players maybe will feel they didn’t do themselves justice.