After a stressful day with visa hassles and a shock victory, Austria's national soccer coach Ralf Rangnick had two reasons to be happy.
“Everything can be done with your neighbor” is the Austrians’ motto for next year’s European Championships in Germany. And through successful qualification, Rangnick's contract was automatically extended until the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Thanks to the 1-0 win in Baku against hosts Azerbaijan. “That feels extremely good,” said Borussia Dortmund goalscorer Marcel Sabitzer, who said he had goosebumps. “We have grown ever closer together and have enormous quality and energy,” emphasized Konrad Laimer from FC Bayern Munich.
At the European Championships again
Lots of Bundesliga power and a German coach - this is how Austria qualified for the European Championships for the third time in a row. “The national team is right in the middle of the action – the team deserves it,” commented the “Kleine Zeitung”. Within a short time, the 65-year-old Rangnick got the most out of his team, "inoculated a new system and scored points with serious work. Rangnick laid the foundation and now he has another eight months to work out the perfect tactics for a summer fairy tale in 2024." said an article in the “Kronen Zeitung”.
Rangnick took over the team in April last year, replacing compatriot Franco Foda. "The contract initially runs for two years; if we successfully qualify for the UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany, the cooperation will automatically be extended for another two years until the 2026 World Cup in the USA," said the press release dated April 29, 2022. On The clause already took effect on October 16, 2023.
Rangnick is proud of his team
"Qualifying on the penultimate matchday is not a given, especially when you consider how many players we didn't have available. That was an extraordinary achievement in the last few weeks and months," explained Rangnick: "I told the boys, that I am very proud of her." The final European Championship qualifier on November 16th in Estonia will now be a further preparation for the major tournament next summer. Five days later, the Austrians will host the European Championship hosts in Vienna for a test match on November 21st.
“If we have all the players available, we will have a team that has not only rightly qualified, but I also believe that we can really show off in Germany,” said Rangnick, who had to do without nine players in Baku , who were already in the starting line-up this year, with a view to the European Championships.