One of Austria's main newspapers was realistic in its assessment of the co-host nation's performance at Euro 2008. "In three appearances on its own soil, Austria could not manage a single goal from open play," writes Michael Robausch. "A lack of imagination in front of the opponent's goal was the cardinal deficit in all of its games."
After a "dreadful" start in the final
group game against Germany Monday, the team managed to battle its way into the action, settling into a 4-5-1 formation that allowed it the odd counterattack. But despite a heavy physical presence
and plenty of hard running, the team couldn't seriously threaten German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, and it ran out of steam after Michael Ballack's "fulminant" free kick gave Germany the lead.
Even at dead-ball situations, the Austrians offered no threat. Captain Andreas Ivanschitz was "everywhere but somehow nowhere." There was neither "creativity nor a path to goal" for the
home team, and "the few times he got into the action, [German striker Miroslav] Klose showed he was more dangerous than the entire Austrian team put together." But at least they didn't make any
grave errors, and managed to fight on level terms. "The ending came as expected, but it came without a horror show."