In the 1930's their Wunderteam swept all before them, recording 21 victories in 31 games and reaching the semi-finals at Italy '34, only to be denied a place in the final through a 0-1 defeat at the hands of the hosts. Austria finished the tournament in fourth place.
Their finest hour was undoubtedly the 1954 FIFA World Cup in neighbouring Switzerland when they defeated two-time champions Uruguay in the third place play-off to record their highest ever finish. However, their sweetest victory came Argentina 1978 when they defeated neighbours Germany for the first time in 47 years. The famous 3-2 victory in Cordoba included two goals from Hans Krankl - one of which was the winner.
Austria's recent FIFA World Cup history is less glorious. Eliminated in the group stage at Italia 1990 and France 1998, they failed even to qualify for Asia's first finals. After finishing second in their qualifying group they came up against, and lost out to, a very talented Turkish side in the play-offs. There was not even the comfort of such a near miss in qualifying for Germany 2006, with the Austrians finishing 10 points behind England and nine adrift of Poland in their preliminary section.
Failing to qualify for the 2006 finals in neighbouring Germany not only meant that Austria missed out on taking part in the world's greatest football tournament, but it also spelled the end of then-coach Krankl's tenure.
Another veteran of Austria's 1978 FIFA World Cup team, Josef Hickersberger, took over for the UEFA EURO 2008 tournament, which was co-hosted by Austria. Despite home advantage and some bright performances, Austria were eliminated in the opening round, and Hickersberger stepped down from the post.
Former Czech Republic boss Karel Bruckner was the man initially charged with guiding Austria towards South Africa 2008, but starting brilliantly with a 3-1 win over France, the following three matches yielded only one point. The result was Bruckner's departure, with the former LASK Linz and Germany's FSV Mainz coach Dietmar Constantini appointed as his successor on 4 March 2009.