Monday, December 8, 2014

Austria Greatest All-time team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of  was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Wunderteam of Austria

This is my all-time team for AustriaIf there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. 

Please also see my All-Time Team Index.

What if Austria-Hungary played in the 1954 World Cup

Austria's football legacy is closely intertwined with the renowned Wunderteam of the 1930s. Led by the exceptional Matthias Sindelar, this team showcased an entertaining style of play, emphasizing short passes. Their remarkable 14-game winning streak included impressive victories over formidable opponents. However, despite their success, they narrowly missed out on major tournament triumphs.

In the 1934 World Cup Finals, Austria, considered the favorites, faced eventual winners Italy in the semifinals and suffered a defeat. Two years later, at the Olympics, they settled for a silver medal. Tragically, by the time the 1938 World Cup Finals arrived, their esteemed coach Hugo Meisl had passed away. Additionally, Austria's annexation by Germany that year led to the loss of their independent national team status. Some Austrian players joined the German team for the tournament, where Germany experienced their worst World Cup performance. Sadly, Matthias Sindelar's life came to a tragic end in 1939.

In the post-war era, Austria failed to replicate the success of the Wunderteam. Their most notable achievement in a major tournament occurred in 1954, when they secured a third-place finish. However, it was the 1978 World Cup Finals that brought immense pride to Austria. In the second round, they defeated West Germany for the first time in 47 years. This historic victory, remembered as "the Miracle of Cordoba" in Austria and "the Disgrace of Cordoba" in Germany, holds a special place in Austrian football history.

World Cup 1978
GK: Rudolph Hiden 
Rudolph Hiden was regarded one of the greatest keepers in the pre-War Europe.  He was the keeper for the Wunderteam in the 1930's that charmed the football fans in Europe.  At the club level, he played for Wiener AC  in Austria between 1927 and 1933, and later, moved to Racing Club Paris in 1933.  Arsenal tried to sign him, but the Players Union and the Football League in England prevented him from doing so. He played 20 times for Austria and 1 time for France. He served in the French military during the War.
Rudolph Hiden 
GK: Friedrich Koncilia 
Friedrich Koncilia played in the 1978 and 1982 WC Finals.  He was capped 84 times between 1970 and 1985.  He spent his most successful club years with FC Wacker Innsbruck and Austria Wien.  He played aboard in Belgium, but failed to settle down. He enjoyed his longest and most successful spell at FC Wacker Innsbruck, staying there for eight years. 

GK: Walter Zeman
Walter Zeman won 41 caps for Austria and went to the 1954 World Cup Finals, where Austria reached the semifinal before being defeated by the eventual champion West Germany.  Zeman began his youth career at local club SV Wienerberger, but he soon moved on to FC Vienna. In 1945 Zeman joined Rapid Vienna and also won his first cap for the Austria national football team. With Rapid Zeman won 8 Austrian league championships and one Austrian cup.

RB: Robert Sara

Robert Sara set the highest appearance record with 571 matches in Austria's Bundesliga.  He spent most of his career with Austria Wien.  For national team, he captained Austria at the WC Finals in 1978, where Austria beat West Germany in the match known as "the Miracle of Cordoba", Austria's first win against the Germans in 47 years.

CB/SW: Bruno Pezzey 
Bruno Pezzey is regarded as one of Austria's greatest defenders of all time.  He played 84 times for Austria between 1975 and 1990 He was a participant at the 1978 World Cup and 1982 World Cup Finals.  At the club football level, he was best known for his stints with FC Wacker Innsbruck and Eintracht Frankfurt.   He won the 1979-1980 UEFA Cup withh Frankfurt. He also played for Werder Bremen between 1983 and 1987. He died at the age of 39.
Bruno Pezzey 
CB: Josef Blum
Blum was one of the best defenders in the world during the early 1930's.  He was a member of the Wunderteam. He was capped 51 times between 1920 and 1932.  For club football, he began his career in 1913 at Nussdorfer AC. In 1918 he moved to First Vienna FC and remained loyal to the Döblingern until his retirement in 1933. He was known above all for his speed and his excellent positional play.  He was also a free kick and penalty meter specialist.

LB/RB/LW/RW: David Alaba 
David Alaba was a son of a Nigerian father and Filipino mother living in Austria.  In 2008, he joined the youth team of Bayern Munich, making his senior debut in 2010.  Apart form a brief loan deal with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, he has been with the club, winning the 2013 Champions' League.  In 2021, he joined Real Madrid. For Austria, he played in Euro 2016. He is the Austrian Footballer of the Year: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2020.
David Alaba 
CM/SW: Ernst Happel 
Ernst Happel was better known for coaching two European Cup winners and the Dutch national team in the 1978 World Cup Finals.  As a player, he played 14 years for Rapid Vienna, from 1943 till 1954 and 1956 till 1959, winning the Austrian Bundesliga 6 times. He was chosen in Rapid's Team of the Century in 1999.  He had 47 caps.  He played in both 1954 and 1958 WC Finals. 

LB: Karl Sesta 
Karl Sesta was one of the best fullbacks of his generation.  He started his national team career in 1932 and went to the World Cup Finals in 1934, where Austria reached the semifinal.  The team was considered one of the greatest ever side that never won the World Cup. After the annexation of Austria into the German Reich in 1941 and 1942 he played three internationals for the German selection.  After the War, he earned two more caps for Austria. 
Karl Sesta 
LW/LB: Walter Nausch
He was the captain of the Wunderteam.  He was a very versatile player who played in almost all positions on the pitch, but was mainly a left wing half. He was capped 39 times between 1929 and 1937, but he did not go to the World Cup Finals in 1934.  He played mostly with Austria Wien. In 2001, he was chosen into Austria's Team of the Century.

CM: Josef Smistik  
Josef Smistik earned 39 caps between 1928 and 1936. He was the captain of Wunderteam during the 1934 World Cup Finals, where Walter Nausch who was the regular captain did not attend.  He started his career with Rapid Wien with his brother Franz.  He would replace Josef Brandstätter at the club. He also played with ESV Stadlau, FAC and Kremser SC.

CM: Ernst Ocwirk 
Ernst Ocwirk is regarded as one of the greatest Austrian footballers of all time.  He was probably the best centrehalf of his generation.  Between 1945 and 1962, he played 62 times for Austria. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1954, where Austria finished 3rd. He spent the majority of his playing and coaching years between Austria Wien and Sampdoria in Italy. He was the second Austrian to play in Italy. He served as the captain of Sampdoria at one point.
Ernst Ocwirk 
CM/WF: Gerhard Hanappi
Gerhard Hanappi is one of Austria's greatest players.  He had 93 caps between 1948 and 1962. He captained the national team from 1955 onward.  He was a participant at the 1954 World Cup Finals, where they reached 3rd place, and at the 1958 World Cup.  He started his career with SC Wacker Wien, but moved to its rival Rapid Wien in 1950.

CM: Karl Koller 
Karl Koller was one of the best Austrian midfielders of all time and was rated as one of the best 100 European footballers of the 20th century by the IFFHS.  He had 86 caps. He was a participant at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, where they reached 3rd place and 1958 World Cup. He earned 86 caps. He is a one club-player for First Vienna.
CM: Herbert Prohaska 
Herbert Prohaska was one of the greatest players in the modern era. He was selected as Austria's UEFA Jubilee Player in 2004. He was capped 83 times between 1974 and 1989, scoring 10 goals.  He played in the World Cup Finals in 1978 and 1982, but retired before the 1990 World Cup Finals.  For his club career, he played mainly for Austria Wien, but also played for Inter Milan and AS Roma in Serie A. He was a aprt of AS Roma's scudetti winning team in 1982-1983 season. He was a deep-lying playmaker.
Herbert Prohaska 
LW: Alfred Körner
Alfred Körner had 47 caps for Austria between 1946 and 1958.  He was a participant at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland with his brother Robert Körner, where Austria came in the 3rd place.  He also went to the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden.  He spent most of his career with Rapid Wien, where he won 7 Bundesliga titles.

RW:  Karl Zischek 
Karl Zischek was Austria's greatest right wingers.  He was a member of the Wunderteam. He made his national team debut in 1929 against Scotland, a team that lost to a continental team which was considered rare in the 1920's.  Austria beat them 2-0 with Zischek scoring both goals.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1934.

AM/ST: Andreas Herzog 
Andreas Herzog started his career at local giants Rapid Vienna, but was sent out on loan to First Vienna during 1987–88. That move proved to be successful and he was soon recalled to Rapid to start the 1988–89 season. He also played for Werder Bremen where he would spend eight years, divided in two periods by a season at Bayern Munich where he won the UEFA Cup. He was capped 103 times for Austria, the most ever for Austria. He attended both 1990 and 1998 World Cup Finals.

AM/FW: Matthias Sindelar 
Nicknamed as "The Mozart of football" or "Der Papierene"(the Paper-man),  Matthias Sindelar is the best player in Austrian football history.  He was the star player on the Wunderteam during the 1934 World Cup Finals. After Germany had annexed Austria in 1941, he refused to play for Germany.  He was found death in his apartment on January, 1939.  His death was rumoured to be related to his opposite to the Anschluss.  It was suspected whether it was suicide or murder. It was one of the greatest tragedy in football.
Matthias Sindelar 
ST: Josef Bican
Josef Bican was a member of the Austrian Wunderteam of the 1930s. He is one of the most prolific scorers in history. He was, in the leagues that he played, the top-scorer 12 times during his 27 years career and Europe's top scorer in five consecutive season.  He played for Rapid Wien before moving to play in Czechoslovakia.  He ended up playing for Czechoslovakia, but missed out on the WC Finals in 1938.

ST: Toni Polster 
Toni Polster  is the all-leading scorer for Austria. He was capped 92 times between 1982 and 2000.  He went to the World Cup Finals of 1990 and 1998. He started his career with Austria Wien in 1982. He played a season with Torino.  He then played in Spain between 1988 and 1993 for Sevilla, Logroñés and Rayo Vallecano. In 1993, he moved to Germany to play for Köln and Borussia Mönchengladbach. In 1999, Polster returned to Austria to play a final season at Austria Salzburg.
Toni Polster 
ST: Franz Binder 
He was a prolific goalscorer who played for SK Rapid Wien. He won the national Austrian championship four times and was three times top goalscorer in Austrian league. In his whole career, he would score 1006 goals in 756 matches. He was one of the few players who had scored over 1000 goals in his career. He was capped 19 times by Austria and another 9 times for Germany when Austria was under Anschluss.

ST: Hans Krankl
Hans Krankl spent most of his career with Rapid Wien.  After winning the European Golden Boot award in 1978, he moved to Barcelona. He won the Cup Winners' Cup and finished as the La Liga top scorer in his first season. He was named Austrian Player of the Year a record five times. At the international level, he went to the World Cup Finals in 1978 and 1982, beating West Germany in 1978 in a match known as "the Miracle of Cordoba".  He earned 69 caps between 1973 and 1985.
Hans Krankl
Honorable Mention
Peter Platzer, Michael Konsel, Karl Stotz, Karl Rainer, Christian Fuchs, Josef Smistik, Erich Obermayer, Ernst Stojaspal, Friedrich Gschweidl, Ivica Vastić, Theodor Wagner, Erich Probst, Anton Schall. Walter Schachner, Marko Arnautović, Karl Decker, Heribert Weber, Johann Horvath, Ernst Stojaspal, Gustav Wieser, Kurt Jara, Aleksandar Dragović, Marko Arnautovic. Hans Horvath, Erich Hof, Ivica Vastic, Toni Kritsch, Marc Janko, Roland Hattenberger.

Squad Explanation
-- In September, 2021, I did a massive review of the team.  I kept everyone from the team.  David Alaba was added to the team in July of that year.
-- Austria  enjoyed success in the 1930s under coach Hugo Meisl, becoming a dominant side in Europe and earning the nickname "Wunderteam".  They finished 4th at the 1934 World Cup Finals.  That team was known as one of the greatest World Cup sides that did not win the World Cup. Thus, I included a lot of players from them. I selected 10 players from the 1930's: Franz Binder, Josef Bican, Matthias Sindelar, Karl Zischek, Anton Schall, Walter Nausch, Karl Sesta, Josef Smistik, Josef Blum and Rudolph Hiden, but not everyone went to the 1934 World Cup Finals. 
--  Known as "The Mozart of football" or Der Papierene ("The Paper Man"), Matthias Sindelar was considered one of the greatest European player of all-time.   In November 2003, Herbert Prohaska was selected as the UEFA Jubilee Awards for Austria by the Austrian Football Association as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.  Ernst Happel, Andreas Herzog, Karl Koller and Toni Polster were among the greatest ever Austrian footballers.  
-- Austria qualified for the World Cup Finals in both 1954 and 1958, finishing third in 1954. It was their best ever placing in the tournament.  Austria and Switzerland played an epic match in the quarterfinal.  The game was the highest ever scoreline in World Cup history.  Austria beat Switzerland in a 7-5 comeback win from a 3–0 deficit.  The match later was better known as "Hitzeschlacht von Lausanne (The heat battle of Lausanne) because it was played under a very hot weather condition.  However, the World Cup overall was a disappointment for them.   Austria was one of the favorites for the title.  They lost 6-1 to their rival West Germany in the semifinal, and they considered the Germans to be the weaker team. Manager Walter Nausch resigned soon after. I selected 7 players from that generation.  They were Walter Zeman, Ernst Happel, Ernst Ocwirk, Gerhard Hanappi, Karl Koller and Alfred Körner.
The heat battle of Lausanne of 1954
-- The generation from the late 1970's and early 1980's enjoyed a resurgence. They beat West Germany at the 1978 World Cup Finals.  In Austria, the game was known as Das Wunder von Córdoba (The Miracle of Córdoba) and in Germany as Die Schmach von Córdoba or Die Schande von Córdoba (The Disgrace of Córdoba).  It was the first time Austria beating Germany in 47 years.  Hans Krankl, Friedrich Koncilia, Bruno Pezzey, Robert Sara and Herbert Prohaska made the team. 
-- This all-time team was among my oldest teams.  David Alaba, Andreas Herzog and Toni Polster were the three youngest players on the team.  Alaba was actually born in 1992 while Herzog and Polster were already active players.  Toni Polster is the all-leading scorer for Austria while Herzog is the record appearance holder.   At the time of writing, Austria had not qualified for the World Cup Finals since 1998.
-- I also created an imaginary Austria-Hungary team at the 1954 World Cup Finals.  I was running out of ideas to create super teams.  So I combined Hungary who finished second and Austria third into a super team. I admitted the team was a far fetched idea.  Austria-Hungary had been gone for 40 years at the time of the 1954 World Cup Finals. 
-- Friedrich Koncilia was mentioned as Austria's greatest goalkeeper.  According to RSSSF,  Rudolph Hiden was Austria's Goalkeeper of the Century followed by Walter Zeman who took Austria to the third place in the 1954 World Cup Finals.  I selected the three of them.  Rapid legend Michael Konsel with 43 international caps would have been my 4th choice.  I also looked into Peter Plazter.
-- With the SSW Innsbruck, Friedrich Koncilia became Austrian champion eight times and won the Austrian Cup six times.
Friedrich Koncilia
-- In 1953, Walter Zeman had the honor of representing the Rest of the World as their starting goalkeeper against England. He continued as Austria's main goalkeeper in 1953 and 1954 until a knee injury sidelined him. Kurt Schmied stepped in as the starting goalkeeper for the 1954 World Cup Finals. Unfortunately, Schmied collapsed under the scorching heat during the quarterfinal against Switzerland, which later became known as the "Hitzeschlacht von Lausanne" (The heat battle of Lausanne) due to the high temperature at play. Zeman returned for the semifinal match against West Germany, but Austria suffered a crushing 6-1 defeat, with Zeman shouldering the blame for the loss. Although his reputation initially took a hit, he eventually managed to recover.
-- Bruno Pezzey, hailed as Austria's premier defender until the 1980s, was widely recognized as one of the era's top liberos. Meanwhile, Josef Blum made his mark as a member of the esteemed Wunderteam. David Alaba's exceptional talent earned him the Austrian Player of the Year award a record-breaking six times. In 2021, I made the decision to replace CB Karl Stotz with Alaba, recognizing his immense capabilities and contributions to the team.
-- Ernst Happel was better known as a manager.  He was the first manager to win the European Cup twice with different clubs.  As a player, he was one of the pioneers as a libero. The national stadium of Austria was named Ernst Happel Stadion in his honour.  In 1956, he scored a hattrick for Rapid Wien against the all-conquering Real Madrid in the European Cup that forced the series to go a third game replay.
Ernst Happel
-- Karl Stotz was captured as a soldier in the Battle of Stalingrad and spent 4 years as a POW in the Soviet Union.  On his return to his homeland, Stotz played three years for FC Wien before joining Austria Wien in 1951. In his 12 years with the Vienna giants he won 4 league titles and 2 domestic cups.  He earned 42 caps between 1950 and 1962.  He was a participant at the 1954 World Cup and 1958 World Cup.  I also could not find spaces for Karl Rainer and Erich Obermayer. At time of writing, Aleksandar Dragović is the second most capped player for Austria, but he would not be making this team.
-- On the right side, I only selected Robert Sara the captain of the team from the "Miracle of Cordoba".  He provided the cross that led to the goal that beat West Germany.  He also held the record of the highest number of games played in the Austrian league.
-- The leftback position was much more competitive.  Walter Nausch, David Alaba and Gerhard Hanappi could also play over there.  Karl Sesta was known for his strength and speed.  He was considered the best in Europe in his prime.  Christian Fuchs was also mentioned, but he was not considered the best in the Europe at his time.  I put him on honorable mention.
-- I selected a group of midfielders who were well-known.  If you were a fan of Austrian football, Josef Smistik, Matthias Sindelar, Gerhard Hanappi, Karl Koller and Herbert Prohaska needed no introduction. It was almost impossible for anyone else to break into the midfield.  I do not have spaces for Karl Decker,  Ernst Stojaspal, Friedrich Gschweidl and Ivica Vastić.
-- In the 1930s, Josef Smistik held the esteemed position of captain for the Wunderteam,  Known for his versatility, Smistik excelled in both defensive and offensive aspects of the game. However, this Austrian team lacked a strong defensive midfielder. As a result, Smistik's role became crucial in providing cover for the more attack-minded players in the midfield. Another player who could potentially fill the void is David Alaba. Although positioned behind this talented group of midfielders, he might be considered the best defensive midfielder in the team. 
-- Ernst Ocwirk, the second Austrian footballer to grace Italy's Serie A, held that distinction until 1980 when Herbert Prohaska joined Inter Milan. During his 5 seasons with Sampdoria, he not only left an indelible mark but also captained the team.
-- Karl Koller was a part of the team that went to the 1954 World Cup Finals. Austria had their best finish in a World Cup Finals.  The majority of the players in Switzerland played for Rapid Wien, but he played for First Vienna.  He played over 800 games for them, helping them to a league title in 1955.
-- Gerhard Hanappi's transfer from Wacker Wien to Rapid Wien in 1950 sparked controversy, fueling the intense rivalry between the two clubs. He held the record for being Austria's most capped player until 1998. After retiring from football, Hanappi pursued a career in architecture and had the honor of designing Rapid Vienna's stadium, which was appropriately named the Gerhard Hanappi Stadium. He could also play as a wingback.
 Gerhard Hanappi
-- Herbert Prohaska was another standout player in Austria.  His nickname was "Schneckerl", Viennese dialect for curly hair.   He was Austrian FA's choice for the UEFA Jubilee award.
-- Widely regarded as the finest Austrian footballer of the 20th century, and arguably the world's best during the 1930s, Matthias Sindelar earned the nickname "the paperman." As the captain of the miracle team, his leadership skills were evident. However, his untimely and mysterious death in 1939 continues to baffle and remains unexplained to this day.
-- I need Karl Zischek and Alfred Körner because the team lacked good wide players.  Alfred Körner's brother Robert also played in the 1954 World Cup Finals.  He was listed as a striker. Marko Arnautovic helped Austria to qualify for Euro 2016 and 2020.  He was Austrian Player of the Year in 2018.  I added him to honorable mention in 2022.  
-- Selecting the forwards for the team was a straightforward task. The likes of Andreas Herzog, Matthias Sindelar, Josef Bican, Toni Polster, Hans Krankl, and Franz Binder were all well-known household names in Austria. Although Anton Schall and Walter Schachner were in serious contention, the aforementioned players were the clear and obvious choices.
-- With an average-score of 1.33 goals per match, Franz Blinder was among the most prolific scorers in football history. Binder is one of the few players to score more than 1000 goals in his professional career alongside Arthur Friedenreich, Gerd Müller, Ferenc Puskás, Josef Bican and Pelé.
-- Josef Bican was born in Vienna.  He was eligible for other all-time national teams due to the fact that he also played for them. It is estimated that he scored at least 805 goals in all competitive matches, which would make him the most prolific goalscorer of all time.  He was also one of the fastest player ever played the game.  However, his peak years were spent as a Czech player.  Nevertheless, he played for Austria and he should be eligible.
-- Andreas Herzog is the all-time cap leader for Austria.  Toni Polster scored 44 goals in 95 games between 1982 and 2000, and Hans Krankl had 34 goals in 69 games between 1973 and 1985. the trio was well-known players in the modern era.
Andreas Herzog 
-- Erich Probst finished as the second top scorer at the 1954 World Cup Finals, but he only made honorable mention.   He was a relatively a forgotten player.
-- Karl Decker actually represented Germany before he played for Austria after the War.  It was not a factor why I left him off the squad.  I simply believed that the players I selected were better than he was.
-- I also looked into Hans Horvath, who played in the Wunderteam alongside Sindelar. Erich Hof was one of the most successful strikers in Austria with 28 team goals, and of course Ivica Vastic had two decades of successes.  Toni Kritsch earned the nickname "Wembley Toni" after he scored two goals in a 3-2 victory over England in 1965.  It was only England's third defeat by a continental side.  He later won a Super Bowl as a kicker in the NFL.

Starting lineups
Formation: 2-3-5
The Wundertem is associated with the greatest moment in Austria;s football history.  This formation is similar to the one used by Hugo Meisl for the Wunderteam.  Basically, this is the Wunderteam with reinforcement.

Formation II: 4-2-1-3
This lineup has a more modern approach to the game.  The midfield is protected by two holding midfielders. Sindelar is the center of attack.  Bican was a fast player so I move him to a wing-forward position.



  1. I am doing research on the Austrian Football Team of 1931. Would it be okay to contact you directly via email? Thank you. - BA

  2. 1.Hiden
    6.Smistik (c)

  3. Er schreibt sich KONCILIA, mit einem "L", nicht mit 2, Lincoln!
    In case you8 don't speak Austrian, it's Friedl KONCILIA with just ONE "L"!!!!!!!

  4. I think Kurt Schmied was better than Walter Zeman. Zeman had a short career, he was washed up at age 27.

  5. using Cricket nerd's template:
    6.Smistik (c)
    Bican I consider Czech. Vogl and Mock were Mitropa Cup absolutes in 1934 and 1936, respectively. Unfortunately, they did not participate in the World Cup.