Vienna: Austria’s coach Marcel Koller came under media fire on Thursday after his team were unceremoniously dumped out of Euro 2016 by Iceland.
Touted as dark horses before, Austria failed miserably to reproduce their impressive qualifying form, losing 2-0 to Hungary although they somehow scraped a goalless draw against Portugal.
“One point, one goal. For a team that wanted to conquer the Euros, an embarrassing knockout,” the Kronen-Zeitung tabloid said.
The Osterreich daily pinned the blame largely on the Swiss coach and his “failed experiment” of a new 5-3-2 formation against Iceland, with Bayern Munich’s David Alaba — a defender — up front.
“As a result the team looked confused at the beginning. The players were stepping on each other’s feet,” the paper said. “Only after half-time did (Koller) correct his mistake.”
Austria legend Toni Polster said Koller’s “completely unnecessary experiment went completely wrong. Why he chose to do this in such an important game is beyond me.
“Previously the Swiss has never taken risks like this. In all the test matches before the tournament, the perfect time to try new things out, he played the old system.”
The Kurier daily said that the new formation had in fact been tried out once before — in a 14-0 drubbing of second-division Swiss side US Schluein Ilanz last month.
Koller’s performance “was not without mistakes,” Kurier said.