Austria have given themselves a shot in the arm after keeping Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal side at bay and will go into their final group match against Iceland full of confidence, coach Marcel Koller said on Saturday.
Portugal’s talisman Ronaldo was unable to convert a string of chances in the game, including a missed penalty, and Koller said the point his team had gained was in large part down to his attacking players taking on more defensive responsibility.
“If this ball had gone in we could have returned home to Austria,” Koller told reporters. “Ronaldo had some actions (chances), but we coped well against a player like him.
“After the last game we were frustrated and now the reality is different. You need self-confidence and we got that against Portugal. Now we can water this plant.”
After Hungary’s last-gasp equaliser against Iceland in the earlier Group F match, Austria need a win in their final group game against the Icelanders as they look to reach the last 16 for the first time.
Koller lauded his midfield for tracking back and snapping at the heels of Portugal’s forwards.
Despite their own talisman David Alaba struggling in a more defensive role, Koller praised his young player’s performance.
“Of course, it was difficult for Alaba in this new position, but I think he did that well, with (winger) Martin Harnik they closed down many positions in defence,” he said.
“Alaba did what he was supposed to. He helped the side, supported his team mates,” Koller said, indicating that Alaba’s role for the next game would be more advanced.
In the five matches Austria have played at European championships, they have scored once and that was a penalty.
On Saturday, they rarely looked like adding to that tally and Koller acknowledged that by Wednesday, he would need to have a plan to break down a “tough and compact” Iceland team.