Hoffer may be Jimmy on the spot

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Twice Austrian scoring sensation Erwin 'Jimmy' Hoffer has been left off the starting lineup.

And both times he's come off the bench to score the winning goal.

"It's in Jimmy's contract that he has to come off the bench and score a goal," Austrian head coach Paul Gudovatz said jokingly through an interpreter yesterday. "I don't know if we're going to bring him off the bench the next game. We might just save him for the final."

That's unlikely.

The player who has three goals in five games for Austria will probably play in Wednesday's semifinal against the Czech Republic.

How much is up to Gudovatz.

"I don't feel any extra pressure when I come off the bench," Hoffer said.

"I always give 100% whether I'm in the starting lineup or I come off the bench. I always want to score."

It's a bold move leaving your most potent striker on the bench in an elimination game. Coming into the tournament Hoffer had scored 20 goals at the youth level, by far the most of any other member of the team.

In Austria's second-round game against Gambia, Hoffer came off the bench with 20 minutes to go in a 1-1 tie and scored the winner 10 minutes later.

On Saturday in a 2-1 win over the United States, Hoffer scored the decisive goal three minutes after coming into the game in the second half of extra-time.

This is the furthest Austria has ever advanced in any youth tournament and in the Czechs are facing a very familiar opponent.

"Both teams are known for their good defence but I don't expect either team to play like that because none of the teams want to go to extra time or the penalty shootout," Hoffer said. "I think both teams want to decide the game within the 90 minutes."

"I think that's a signal from Jimmy Hoffer that he wants to come into the game during the 90 minutes and not in extra time," countered his coach.


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