Austria not losing to England in Euro 2022 opener would be ‘sensation’, coach admits

·2-min read
Austria not losing to England in Euro 2022 opener would be ‘sensation’, coach admits

Austria head coach Irene Fuhrmann knows only a flawless display will give her side any hope of pulling off a sensational victory over hosts England in the opening match of Euro 2022 at Old Trafford.

The Lionesses head into the tournament as favourites and will be cheered on by a partisan sell-out crowd on Wednesday night.

Fuhrmann is well aware of the challenge facing her squad in the first Group A fixture, but remains determined for England not to have it all their own way.

“On paper, anything but a win by England would not just be a surprise, but a sensation,” Fuhrmann said. “England are very robust, determined, have high offensive quality and are the top favourites for the European Championship title for me.

“But we are happy that we were given this fixture because it will be a unique experience. We want to draw as much energy as possible from this atmosphere.”

Fuhrmann added on the Austrian Football Association website: “We are prepared for all phases of the game and have a good match plan.

“We have to go to the limit, implement everything almost flawlessly, only then is the sensation possible.”

Austria’s build-up has been dealt a blow with the news midfielder Maria Plattner, who had scored four goals in the past five internationals, will miss the tournament after breaking her collarbone in training on Sunday.

Freiburg’s Lisa Kolb is also out of contention after testing positive for Covid.

England are unbeaten in 14 matches with 12 wins under Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman.

Austria captain Viki Schnaderbeck, though, maintains her squad will be up for the challenge.

“England will be very strong,” said the defender, who left Arsenal when her contract expired at the end of the season following a loan spell at Tottenham.

“They are playing their opening game in front of a home crowd and they have had good results against difficult opponents with their new coach.

“It all depends who performs better on the day. Whether you play in England, Germany or Austria, that doesn’t mean anything for me because we have the same conditions.”

Schnaderbeck added: “They are a physical side, a highly motivated team who have the depth to switch things up from the bench.

“I think that is their strength and we mustn’t ignore it - but we must impose our own game.”

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