Austria Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Pick

Austria Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Pick article feature image
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BJ Cunningham/Action Network: Konrad Laimer.

Austria come into the Euros after an impressive qualifying campaign under Ralph Rangnick.

Austria finished second to Belgium, but the underlying data was really good and their system sets them up well to thrive in this group.Ralf Rangnick has proven himself over his career to be an elite out of possession coach. His defensive tactics inspired the next generation of German managers like Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Naglesmann. Rangnick’s Austria team is no different than any of his sides in the fact that he wants his team to press high to try and force high turnovers.

The Austrians will be without two key players in Xaver Schalger and and David Alaba, but there is a lot of depth and talent at their positions where the drop off might not be as drastic.

Let's get into my Austria Euro 2024 preview.

Tactical Analysis

Austria are a really good in possession side and they’ve only been improving under Rangnick. There are basically two different methodologies they use for build up. First there is the more conservative approach of a 2-4 or 4-2 type of shape with Sabitzer and Laimer dropping as the two midfielders with the fullbacks pushing high and wide to stretch the opposing defensive block.

Then there is the approach of a 3-1-6 with the aim of either playing a lot of long balls up to the forwards or creating a four man box midfield where they try to play a lot of one touch passes to create goal scoring opportunities through the middle of the opponent's defense.

They are also a really good transition side that like to utilize their ability out of possession creating high turnovers to create easy direct counterattacking opportunities. When they do transition, they like to get the ball out wide to create opportunities via cutbacks or crosses to the far post. They were top eight in accurate crosses per 90 minutes in the Euro field, while also having the sixth-most counterattack shots.

The real success for the Austrians comes in their mid block. They have a good ball-winning midfield in Marcel Sabitzer and Konrad Laimer, two people who make it incredibly difficult for teams to play through the middle. For Austria, the main component of their defensive structure is being active in pressing the ball out of the mid block. They led all teams in duel win rate, which allowed to get into so many great transition opportunities.

Putting pressure on the ball from the mid block also forces opponents into a lot of long passes up the field, which also plays into Austria’s favor. They had the fourth-lowest long ball completion % allowed, which is another testament to how good they are at winning duals.

austria-eurosaustria-pick

data via WyScout

Pick

Austria are a really underrated team in this tournament. Being good out of possession, winning duels and hurting teams in transition is vital if you want to go deep as an underdog.

Because of their ability both from build up situations and attacking in transition, Austria averaged 2.05 xG per 90 minutes and averaged the fourth-most shots per 90 minutes during qualifying. They have a pretty decent striker as well in Michael Gregoritsch, who averaged over four shots per 90 minutes in qualifying and is coming off a productive season with Freiburg putting up a 0.57 npxG per 90 minute scoring rate.

During qualifying, Austria only allowed 0.95 xG per 90 minutes and when they did concede their chances, most of them came in transition, but the press forced far more turnovers and created so many more goal scoring opportunities than against them. Plus, having athletic, good ball winning centerbacks in Kevin Danso, Phillip Leinhart and Maximilian Wöber help makes Rangnick’s out of possession system function at an elite level.

Austria are only -110 to advance, which I think is incredibly short for how difficult this team is to play against.

Pick: Austria to Advance (-110 via bet365)

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