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[ 2024 European Cup Austria ] With their star player sidelined, the primary goal is to advance from the group stage.

The Austrian team is a historically significant squad, having qualified for the World Cup finals seven times. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Austria was one of the most competitive teams in world football, finishing third in the 1934 World Cup and third again in 1954. Additionally, Austria reached the quarter-finals of the 1978 and 1982 World Cups. However, after that, the team experienced a downturn. In 2008, Austria qualified for the European Championship finals as hosts for the first time but failed to win a single game in the group stage, failing to advance. In recent years, Austria has made rapid progress and has become a force to be reckoned with in European football.

Looking back at the qualifying campaign for this year's European Championship, Austria demonstrated impressive competitiveness. During the European qualifiers, Austria was placed in Group F alongside Belgium, Sweden, Estonia, and Azerbaijan. Austria achieved 6 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss, earning 19 points to rank second and advance to the finals, just 1 point behind the group leader Belgium (20 points). During this period, Austria defeated all opponents except Belgium, against whom they drew once and lost once (1-1, 2-3), especially dominating Sweden with two victories.

At the current European Championship finals, ranked 25th in the world, Austria is in Group D with France, the Netherlands, and Poland, all of whom are formidable opponents. France, ranked 2nd in the world, boasts a star-studded lineup including Mbappe, Dembele, Griezmann, Camavinga, Chouameni, and Saliba, making them one of the top contenders for the title. The Netherlands, currently ranked 7th in the world, are also strong, especially in terms of defensive depth. As for Poland, led by Lewandowski, they are currently ranked 28th in the world.

Coach Foda is a coach who emphasizes balanced offense and defense, favoring a 4-defender system. However, the injuries to Alaba and Schlager, both of whom are crucial players in the Austrian team's defense and leadership, have had a significant impact, posing a hidden danger to Austria. In the attack, Austria places great emphasis on the coordination between the left and right midfielders and the center forward. Sabitzer and Laimer both have the ability to cut inside, coordinating well with the center forward Gregoritsch. In addition, Baumgartner's ability to advance from midfield is also strong, often tearing apart the opponent's defense and directly contributing to goals.

Foda has made adjustments to the team's tactics, including positioning Sabitzer and Laimer further forward and changing to a 4-3-3 formation. However, Foda is not a radical coach; he emphasizes balanced offense and defense and emphasizes tactical discipline.

Alaba is the core of Austria's defense and captain, but he suffered a serious injury and will miss this year's European Championship. After Alaba's injury, Foda tried to rebuild the central defense, but whether to reuse Danso or Wober remains unknown.

Although the Austrian team's forward line lacks big-name stars like Alaba, it is still full of talent. Sabitzer is a key player for Dortmund, shining in the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid with one goal and two assists. Laimer plays for Bayern Munich and, while not a regular starter, is an important player in midfield. Baumgartner and Schlager both play for RB Leipzig, with Schlager being a key player for Leipzig due to his outstanding defensive ability, while Baumgartner is an all-around player who often scores key goals. However, Schlager recently suffered a serious injury and will also miss the European Championship. Gregoritsch is the core of Austria's frontline, not only possessing scoring ability but also strong support play, showing great understanding with Sabitzer and Laimer in the attacking end.

Alaba and Schlager's serious injuries ruling them out of this year's European Championship have had a huge impact on Austria's midfield and defensive setup. This directly affects their defensive system and could potentially hinder their prospects in the tournament. Additionally, Austria's group opponents are generally strong; France is a top contender for the title, the Netherlands is a traditional powerhouse in Europe, and Poland is a well-rounded team. Therefore, Austria's primary goal is to qualify from the group stage. Given Austria's overall strength and squad composition, advancing from the group stage is the most pragmatic target.

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7 New Orleans Pelicans
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8 Los Angeles Lakers
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9 Sacramento Kings
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