As the weeks to the European Championships shorten and the kick off looms, more and more nations are announcing their preliminary squads.
France recently announced theirs, effectively to show up the ridiculous amount of talent they have got in the squad.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 18, 2021
However, one squad which was announced recently which has caused quite a reaction from its nation’s supporters was that of Austria.
Austria has been intriguing to watch in the sport, especially considering the rise in quality over the last decade with players such as David Alaba , Marko Arnautovic and more recently budding talents like Yusuf Demir gaining notoriety.
Despite the large amounts of talent in the squad, they have so far failed to impress at international tournaments. They haven’t qualified for a World Cup since 1998 and their second ever Euro participation in 2016 ended in group stage disappointment.
This tournament comes with greater expectation to improve.
The squad reaction
Austria announced the squad 3 days ago on their official page which sports nearly 50,000 followers. Right now, the post has just over 500 likes. Staggeringly low numbers considering the importance of the post.
— ÖFB – oefb.at (@oefb1904) May 19, 2021
This lack of positive feeling is derived from the selection manager Franco Foda has gone for. This was clear in some of the quoted tweets, criticising the decisions.
“Now 2 days have passed and I still can’t quite figure it out. No Kara or Demir but nominate Balic or even Schöpf? Enough for me, Foda Out,” wrote one disgruntled fan.
Jetzt sind 2 Tage vergangen und ich komm immer noch nicht ganz drauf klar. Kein Kara oder Demir aber dafür Balic oder sogar Schöpf nominieren?
Mir reichts, Foda Out 😤 https://t.co/YolFSY9bbE
— Lukas Reitböck (@lukasreitboeck) May 21, 2021
I find it kinda interesting that 22 out of the 30 players Franco Foda has picked in his squad thus far all play in Germany.
It is even more interesting considering Foda is the only German to ever manage Austria.
Also seems that A LOT of Austria fans are unhappy with his picks. https://t.co/kqbIXMthvP
— Jonas Giæver (@CheGiaevara) May 20, 2021
I am stunned! No Holzhauser!
Well, with @kbeerschotva not being in the Play-Offs has quietened hype around him a bit but what a wonderful season R Holzhauser had.
16 G +16 A in 2020-21 @ProLeagueBE !
— SMukherjee (@DrMukherjeeS) May 19, 2021
we’re actually taking gregoritsch to the euros ffs we are not a serious country https://t.co/PH3syMkSoQ
— nicolas 🇦🇹 (@BraveBatshuayi) May 19, 2021
The anger is clearly at the selection, or rather lack of selection, of players without consideration of those playing in their native Austria.
“So there’s a 30-man provisional squad with just 3 players from the Austrian Bundesliga (Alex Schlager GK, Husein Balic LWF, and Andreas Ulmer LB),” explains Middler.
“Several big names were left out like Max Wöber & Cican Stankovic from Salzburg, Gernot Trauner, Thomas Goiginger and Reinhold Ranftl from LASK, Yusuf Demir and Ercan Kara from Rapid.
“It’s not like all of them should be in the squad, but none of them, that’s quite a statement. Also 11/14 players from Foda’s on-call list are based in Austria, which feels like a slap in the face.
“It’s almost a sign that if you’re in Austria you can be good enough but you are much more likely to be overlooked. The good news is that there should be enough talent in the squad to do well anyway, if Foda knows what to do with it.
“But it was not a selection that will please football fans in Austria. 22 players based in Germany is a huge number.”
Perhaps if Austria qualify their group containing The Netherlands, Ukraine and North Macedonia then they will quickly forgive the oversight. However, should they perform like at the 2016 tournament, Foda may become even more unpopular than his selection has made him.