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One surprise in Austrian squad
May 28, 2008 19:26 IST
Austria coach Josef Hickersberger named his 23-man squad for Euro 2008 [Images] on Wednesday, adding Martin Harnik as a surprise fourth striker.
Harnik, who has yet to play 90 minutes for Austria, joins Roland Linz, Erwin Hoffer and Roman Kienast, who scored in a 1-1 friendly draw with Nigeria on Tuesday, in attack.
Juergen Macho and Alex Manninger will compete for the first-choice spot in goal after a serious stomach complaint forced goalkeeper Helge Payer to pull out of the team earlier this week.
Payer has been replaced by Ramazan Ozcan for the campaign in Group B, where co-hosts Austria face Germany [Images], Croatia and Poland.
"It was a long night, we were up until two in the morning... It was a very hard decision as there were some difficult cases," Hickersberger told a news conference.
"I am convinced this is the right team, but ultimately the games during Euro 2008 will be the test.
"Of course we are all speculating with the possibility of a huge surprise and reaching the quarter-final. The team believes we have a chance as outsiders and that if everything succeeds, if we have good form on the day, we will be able to use this chance."
Hickersberger left out Rapid Vienna's Stefan Maierhofer, who played a key part in the team's league title success with seven goals in 11 appearances.
The final warm-up for Hickersberger's side will be against Malta on Friday.
"I still want to try a few things out in the game against Malta," he said.
Goalkeepers: Alexander Manninger (AC Siena), Juergen Macho (AEK Athens), Ramazan Ozcan (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim)
Defenders: Gyorgy Garics (Napoli), Ronald Gercaliu (Austria Vienna), Martin Hiden (Kaernten), Markus Katzer (Rapid Vienna), Juergen Patocka (Rapid Vienna), Emmanuel Pogatetz (Middlesbrough), Sebastian Proedl (Sturm Graz), Martin Stranzl (Spartak Moscow [Images])
Midfielders: Rene Aufhauser (Salzburg), Christian Fuchs (Mattersburg), Andreas Ivanschitz (Panathinaikos), Umit Korkmaz (Rapid Vienna), Christoph Leitgeb (Salzburg), Juergen Saeumel (Sturm Graz), Joachim Standfest (Austria Vienna), Ivica Vastic (Linz)
Forwards: Erwin Hoffer (Rapid Vienna), Roman Kienast (Ham-Kam), Roland Linz (Braga), Martin Harnik (Werder Bremen)