Austria plans hostile takeover

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

Austria has players who are used to being in important matches in front of big, hostile crowds.

But they also have players who regularly play in front of 300 spectators back in their domestic leagues.

Tonight Austria is expecting a big pro-Canadian crowd to show up at Commonwealth Stadium for their second game at the U-20 World Cup.

And they don't expect too many to be cheering for them.

"We expect there to be 60,000 people in the stadium tomorrow," said Austrian midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic through an interpreter. "But we have a few players who are used to playing in front of 25,000 or 30,000 people. When you play in that type of atmosphere with a big crowd it doesn't matter who the crowd is cheering for. It inspires you to play at a higher level. There are a lot of emotions involved and your adrenaline gets higher and it's fantastic to play in front of so many people. We will be confident when we go on the field."

This particular team has experience playing in hostile environments and winning. In Poland at the European Under-19 championships last summer, Austria beat the hosts 1-0 in front of 15,000 in the city of Pozanan.

Leading up to this tournament Austria travelled to Spain and won 1-0 in front of another partisan crowd.

"The team is used to it," said the head of the Austrian delegation Karl Kaplan. "If the team can show the tactics and the style of play that they've trained with under head coach Paul Gludovatz, then I think we can get a result."

Having tied their first game against Congo, Austria needs a good result against the host to improve their chances of getting out of the group.

Beating the host will require beating goaltender Asmir Begovic, who despite letting in three goals against Chile, was considered Canada's best player in their opening game.

"We saw the Canadian game against Chile and we've seen Canada play other matches," said Austrian midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic. "He was the best player in that game. He made some good saves, but nevertheless, we will put a goal in."


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