Aus­tria brace for his­toric game

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Women’s Euro new­com­ers Aus­tria are brac­ing for their semi-fi­nal against Den­mark fully aware that to­mor­row’s en­counter will be a world apart from last month’s 4-2 win in a friendly.

“It’s go­ing to be a com­pletely dif­fer­ent game, the friendly was weeks ago,” right full back Katha­rina Schiechtl told AFP at Aus­tria’s train­ing ground in Wageningen. “Den­mark have pre­sented them­selves very well so far at the Eu­ros, they’ve played stronger and stronger ev­ery game.” “Be­sides, they have high-class in­di­vid­ual play­ers like Pernille Harder,” added Schiechtl. She was on the pitch on July 6 when Aus­tria beat the Danes owing to braces from Ni­cole Billa and Sarah Zadrazil. So was left full back Ver­ena Aschauer, who said Den­mark were a lit­tle more ac­cept­able op­po­nent than Ger­many, the eight-time cham­pion elim­i­nated by Den­mark in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

“I wouldn’t pre­fer Ger­many, but in the semi-fi­nal it doesn’t mat­ter who you play against, ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble in one game,” said the 23-year-old, who plays for Freiburg in the Bun­desliga.

“But Den­mark sounds a lit­tle bet­ter than Ger­many.” Aschauer added she had no doubt Aus­tria-which en­joys mas­sive fan sup­port at home-was ready for the chal­lenge. “Our team is some­thing very spe­cial in ev­ery sense of the word,” she added.

“Of course team spirit is the most im­por­tant thing, the key fac­tor, but we are also very good in­di­vid­u­ally. “What makes us spe­cial is that we stick to­gether no mat­ter what, and we al­ways be­lieve un­til the fi­nal whis­tle that we can make it.”

“That’s what we proved for ex­am­ple in the game with Spain, but also in the other games.” Aus­tria sur­pris­ingly won their group after beat­ing Switzer­land and Ice­land and a 1-1 draw with France.

Aschauer and the lanky Schiechtl, who is 24 and plays for Werder Bre­men in the Bun­desliga, agreed the quar­ter-fi­nal win against Spain on penal­ties after a goal­less draw was the big­gest of their ca­reers so far.

“In­cred­i­ble, amaz­ing,” said Schiechtl. “It’s a dream come true at the mo­ment, and speak­ing of the semi­fi­nal we’re go­ing to put in ev­ery­thing we have left in us.” “But Den­mark is go­ing to be a hard task.” — AFP

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