|Wunderteam of Austria|
Please also see my All-Time Team Index.
What if Austria-Hungary played in the 1954 World Cup
Austria's football is largely associated with the great Wunderteam of the 1930's. With Matthias Sindelar as the center of the team, the Wunderteam played an entertaining style of football that emphasized on short passes. They went on a 14 game winning streak and had routed many of their stronger opponents. However, they just fell short on major tournaments. As the favorite of the World Cup Finals of 1934, they lost to the host and eventual winner Italy in the semifinal. Two years later, they only managed a silver medal at the Olympics. By the 1938 World Cup Finals, their coach Hugo Meisl was dead. Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938 and Austria lost its status as an independent national team. Some of the Austrians joined the German team at the cup, in which Germany had the worst showing in their World Cup history. Matthias Sindelar was found dead in 1939.
After the War, Austria never lived up to the Wunderteam. Their best performance in a major tournament came in 1954 when they finished third. However, it was the 1978 World Cup Finals that the Austrians probably would be proud of. In the second round, they beat West Germany for the first time in 47 years. The game is remembered in Austria as "the Miracle of Cordoba" or in Germany as "the Disgrace of Cordoba".
|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.
Friedrich Koncillia 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.
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.
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.
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.
CB: Karl Stotz
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.
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.
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: 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.
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: 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: 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.
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 Austriai 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.
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.
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.
Anton Schall. Walter Schachner, David Alaba, Marko Arnautović, Karl Decker, Erich Obermayer, Ernst Stojaspal, Friedrich Gschweidl, Ivica Vastić, Heribert Weber, Erich Probst, Johann Horvath.
-- The Wunderteam is one of the greatest teams in history. 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 is considered one of the greatest European player of all-time.
-- Austria qualified for the World Cup Finals in both 1954 and 1958, reaching the semifinal in 1954. I selected 7 players from that generation. They are Walter Zeman, Ernst Happel, Karl Stotz, Ernst Ocwirk, Gerhard Hanappi, Karl Koller and Alfred Körner.
-- Ernst Ocwirk was the second Austrian footballer ever to play in Serie A. He also remained the last Austrian in Serie A until 1980, when Herbert Prohaska played for Internazionale. Ocwirk would play five seasons at Sampdoria of which he became the captain.
-- 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 Koncillia, Bruno Pezzey, Robert Sara and Herbert Prohaska made the team.
-- 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.
-- Josef Bican is eligible for other 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.
-- Andreas Herzog and Toni Polster who retired in 2000's are the youngest players on the squad. They were on the 1998 World Cup team. Toni Polster is the all-leading scorer for Austria while Herzog is the record appearance holder.
-- I need Karl Zischek and Alfred Körner because the team lacks good wide players.
-- David Alaba won Austrian Player of the Year six times, a record. He probably deserved a place, but he had Karl Sesta and Walter Nausch ahead him. Austria also has plenty of good midfielders. Ernst Ocwirk, Gerhard Hanappi, Karl Koller, Josef Smistik and Herbert Prohaska are ahead of him.
-- Anton Schall and Walter Schachner were seriously considered, but I do not have enough space for them. I selected Andreas Herzog whom is the all-time cap leader for Austria over them.
-- And I could not have a space for Karl Decker.
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: 4-2-1-3This 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.