Austria are everything England are not – and never have been | Barney Ronay

An incoherent national team always seem a surprise but why? There is no English coaching school, no coaching culture, nothing to pass down

Here’s a phrase you might not have heard since 1934. Hey, Austria look good. This is a new thing in many ways. What do we think of, traditionally, when it comes to Austria and international football? Indeterminate makeweights. The pre-war Wunderteam. A prosperous strudel repository. The Surrey of greater Germania. The 1990s pomp-rock target-man stylings of Toni Polster.

And now? Modernity. Energy. Grooved patterns. Austria finished top of a group that includes the teams ranked second and seventh in the world. They have been coherent, joined-up, even vibrant in a mannered kind of way, the only team in the final round of group games to score three goals, en route to a first victory against the Netherlands in 34 years.

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