Austria ecstatic to have qualified for the U20 World Cup.
FIFA U20 World Cup
29 July - 20 August 2011
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Samuel Philip Steinbock
This is the fourth time Austria has qualified for a FIFA U-20 World Cup, having previously appeared in 1977, 1983 and 2007. However, they have only progressed from the group stage once, in 2007, when they reached the semi-finals before going out to the Czech Republic.
Many believed Austria were not going to make Colombia 2011, after being drawn in a qualifying group with England, France and the Netherlands. Things looked even bleaker when they lost their opening game 3-2 against England and followed that performance with a 5-0 loss to France. Knowing only a win in their last game would get them through, it took a late penalty from midfielder Marco Djuricin.
After finishing third in their group to qualify for Colombia manager Heraf said "We qualified for the World Cup in Colombia, which is a massive achievement. We're ecstatic, but it's testament to the excellent youth work we've been doing in Austria over the last few years,"
Although billed as underdogs, coach Heraf has a number of new faces to work with, not least Bayern Munich's David Alaba and Inter Milan's Christoph Knasmullner and with their recent showings in Canada being more than impressive, Austria could prove to be a more difficult challenge than they look.