ÖFB team boss Ralf Rangnick was not pleased with the draw. “There would have been easier groups, but maybe one or the other that was more difficult. But we said from the beginning that we have to take it as it comes. There are definitely two rivals who want to qualify with Sweden and Belgium, and that goes for us as well,” Rangnick said in an ORF interview.
Eligibility is from March to November 2023. “By then we have to make sure we are in top form and then we definitely have to finish in the top two of this group,” the team boss said. Respect to Belgium and Sweden. “We know they’re both tough opponents and Azerbaijan aren’t the type to fly out there and get the three points all of a sudden.”
Group B with the Netherlands, world champions France, Ireland, Greece and Gibraltar is particularly difficult. Group C features England and Italy for a repeat of the 2021 European Championship final. Other teams include Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta. EM hosts Germany definitely qualified. The opening match of the final round will be held in Munich and the final in Berlin. Other venues include Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig and Stuttgart.
The ÖFB team finishes in Group F
For Austria’s national team, the road to the 2024 European Football Championship in Germany will not be easy. The ÖFB selection finished in Group F in Sunday’s draw in Frankfurt, where they will face Belgium, Sweden, Azerbaijan and Estonia.
Again against Sweden
Second only to Brazil, Belgium is currently the top European country in the International Football Association (FIFA) world rankings and is therefore the favorite in the group. The 2018 World Cup bronze medalist reached the quarter-finals of the latest European Championship. Belgium’s “golden generation” around Kevin De Bruyne have yet to live up to their promise. Fans are looking forward to their first international title since their 1920 Olympic triumph.
Sweden drew the Austrians for the seventh time in a European Championship or World Cup qualifier, and recent memories are good: in qualifying for the European Championship 2016, the ÖFB team won Group G ahead of Russia and Sweden. There was a 1-1 draw in Vienna, and in September 2015, David Alaba and co won the last round early with a 4-1 win in Stockholm.
“Must win” matches against Estonia and Azerbaijan, ranked 109th and 123rd in the world respectively. Both are looking forward to their first qualification for a main event. Austria’s record is clear with three wins and a draw in four matches against Azerbaijan and two wins in two duels against the Estonians.
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