In a close game, Austria prevailed in the end because of the individual class at the start of the European Championship against North Macedonia 3-1 (click here for the match report).
In the end, the substitute offensive players Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic decided a game in which Austria largely dominated, but made many minor mistakes.
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The self-sacrificing North Macedonians could not prevent Austria's first European Championship victory in the final phase. The voices for the game.
Franco Foda : History was made by the players, not me. They are the protagonists on the pitch and have implemented the plan very, very well. We raised a few things at halftime, increased the pace again and deserved to win. The two changes brought a lot of momentum, you need all players in a EURO. I hope we gave all Austrians great pleasure.
We knew North Macedonia was extremely good at shifting play, but we had good remaining defense. In the first half, we didn't have the right pace and we didn't play well in the half-spaces. After the 1-0 win, we had a huge chance through Sasa (Kalajdzic, note) to make it 2-0, but then we were unlucky enough to equalize. The team still believed in themselves and are the deserved winners. With Marko it was clear that he would come into play. When he's in top shape, he always plays with me from the start. But he came back after an injury. All 26 players are training extremely well and it will only work together with everyone.
Marcel Sabitzer: It was extremely important that we start the tournament well. We really dominated the first half, but then we got such a stupid goal. We then continued to play and deserved to win. We knew that they would be compact and that we had to act with flanks. David then brought it in well and Gregerl does it. Marko then put the lid on. The win is very important for the mood, for us as a team and for the whole country. I hope we can create some euphoria.
Stefan Lainer : The goal we conceded was obviously unfortunate, but otherwise we didn't allow much. I am very happy that we won. We were sure that we would come back because we are the better team. David did an outstanding job in central defense, really great. I was happy about my goal, but I wouldn't compare myself to Zlatan (laughs). I hope everyone was happy with me.
David Alaba: We are of course happy. That was our first goal and a confidence win. But it goes on and we have to stay focused. We knew it wasn't going to be an easy game. You shouldn't underestimate this team. We let the ball run well in the first half, but didn't have any solutions in the attacking third. The balance was then unfortunate, I would say.
We decided to be brave during the break. I have been telling Gregerl over the past few days and weeks that he will get his chance and then please use it for me. We have a lot of quality across the board. And it's no secret that Marko is important to us. The fact that I am working in the defense center was discussed with the team boss over several days – but he has to answer whether I will stay there. (laughs)