Austria out of magic

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

It was always going to be a challenge for Austria.

Going into the biggest game in their youth soccer history, Austria were down three starting defenders.

Then they found themselves down two goals 15 minutes into the contest.

"The Czech Republic was very strong tonight, they put a lot of pressure on us at the beginning, so it was very difficult for us," said Austrian defender Sebastian Proedl. "We had to make some changes in our defence and it was very difficult because we hadn't played together very much. We tried our best, but we weren't successful."

With the injury to Thomas Panny the night before in practice and the suspension of two other starting defenders, the Czechs went after the Austrian makeshift back line. And it worked.

"At the beginning the Czech Republic was very strong and we tried our best against them," Panny said.

Despite the loss, the tournament is not over for Austria.

They'll play the loser of tonight's semifinal encounter between Chile and Argentina in the third-place game.

Prior to this tournament, Austria had never made it out of the group stages of the under-20 championships.

Through their improbable run to the semifinal they were being called the Baby Wunderteam back home in reference to the great Austrian team of the 1930s.

"Right now we are not feeling very proud because we are very disappointed," said striker Rubin Okotie. "Maybe in one or two weeks we can feel good about what we've accomplished here at this tournament. But right now we feel more disappointment then we do pride about getting this far."


Photos