Football History

Austria’s Wunderteam – the godfathers of football’s soul

Game of the People

wunderteamAPART FROM  a spell in the late 1970s when Hans Krankl was one of Europe’s most prolific strikers, Austrian football has spent many years in the shadows, despite being joint hosts of Euro 2008. It was during the football-fest of 2008 that an interesting exhibition in Vienna paid tribute to the history of the Austrian game, and in particular, a time when its national team was among the most feared in the world.

Das Wunderteam was its name, and for a few short years in the 1930s, Austria’s reputation was of a whirlwind team that brushed aside the opposition with ease. Although the canonisation of this talented group of players was partly attributable to an age of limited mass communication (it really was Britain against the Rest of the World), Austria’s record at the time (mostly built-up in games against Hungary, Switzerland and Czechoslavakia), deserves respect. Furthermore, there is little…

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