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David Alaba (2nd L) of Austria celebrates scoring his first team goal with his team mates
© Getty Images

*FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Austria’s most successful period at the FIFA World Cup was a long time ago. The Alpine nation finished fourth at the 1934 finals in Italy, and produced their best ever campaign in Switzerland 20 years later by winning the bronze medal. However, in their five appearances at subsequent editions they were unable to finish higher than seventh, achieved at Argentina 1978. Austria failed to advance beyond the group stage at France 1998 and have since missed out on qualifying for the last four World Cups.

*The team
The majority of Austria’s players ply their trade in Europe’s top leagues, especially in the neighbouring German Bundesliga, where many of them are integral members of their clubs’ starting line-ups. The experience gained abroad has benefitted the national team, which coach Marcel Koller has forged into a compact and tactically adept ensemble from a group of technically gifted individuals such as David Alaba, Zlatko Junuzovic and Marko Arnautovic. Alaba is Austrian football’s poster boy and the defensive midfielder has emerged as one of the pillars of the team; he is already one of the most experienced members, despite his young age.

*The coach
Marcel Koller took over at the helm in November 2011. It is his first role as a national team coach, having previously had spells in charge of Grasshoppers Zurich, Cologne and Bochum, among others.

The stat
11 – Four players share the national record of appearing in 11 World Cup matches. Herbert Prohaska, Bruno Pezzey, Erich Obermayer and Friedl Koncili all participated at the 1978 and 1982 tournaments, recording five wins, five defeats and a draw.

*The former stars
Toni Polster, Herbert Prohaska, Andreas Herzog, Ernst Happel, Josef Hickersberger, Kurt Jara, Johann Krankl