Football EM: Dragovic still has one bill open

“Yesterday was yesterday, today is today. Maybe back then after the qualification we believed we were the kings. But we’re not talking about 2016, we’re focusing entirely on North Macedonia. We have to make up for it, ”said Dragovic, who will play for Red Star Belgrade after the European Championship. That also applies to him.

The 30-year-old is one of eight players in the ÖFB-EM squad who participated in the finals in France five years ago. David Alaba, Marko Arnautovic, Julian Baumgartlinger, Martin Hinteregger, Stefan Ilsanker, Marcel Sabitzer and Schöpf also played in the team in 2016, which ended up last in the group with one point.

“We wanted too much”

“We screwed it up last time. We put too much pressure on ourselves, we wanted too much, ”said the defender. “We have to learn from that.” They want to do better than in 2016, when after an impressive qualification the end came in the group stage. “But we mustn’t let ourselves be driven crazy.”

Reuters/Darren Staples

Dragovic no longer wants to experience scenes like the 2016 European Championship game against Iceland

You will probably not see a penalty taker Dragovic at the upcoming EM. “I’m definitely way back on the list,” smiled the defender. Alaba, Sabitzer or Arnautovic are the first contenders for execution.

“Still need a year or two”

In 2016 under Marcel Koller, the expectations were high. Five years later under Franco Foda, after setbacks at the start of the World Cup qualification in March, including a 4-0 defeat in Vienna against Denmark, little of the euphoria was felt. “Maybe once again the limits have been shown to us that we are not yet as far as many think,” said Dragovic some time ago.

“We are still missing that certain something on top of the European top. We’re a very good, ambitious team, but I think we still have to work hard to get to the top. We’ll need another year or two. ”What is missing is mainly consistency. “Sometimes we play very well, but we never manage 90 minutes.”

You saw that last in the 0-0 win against Slovakia. At the EM dress rehearsal, which Dragovic followed from the bank, several blunders led to great Slovak opportunities. “We are all human, mistakes are part of it,” said Dragovic, who was spared against the Slovaks, and urged prudence. “We don’t need to drive ourselves crazy or apply too much pressure, we just have to believe in ourselves. Everyone has to play away from the liver, of course with a certain security. “

“There are no more weak opponents”

At the EM it should go step by step. The most important thing is not to lose the opening game against North Macedonia on June 13 in Bucharest. “We are Austria, everyone has to get close to 100 percent, otherwise it will be very, very difficult,” said Dragovic. “It’s a very balanced group. North Macedonia won against Germany, there are no more weak opponents. “

Aleksandar Dragovic

APA/EXPA/Luke Huter

The defender knows what to expect

The match against North Macedonia will be followed by duels with the Netherlands (June 17th in Amsterdam) and the Ukraine (June 21st again in Bucharest). Dragovic: “Of course our goal is to survive the group, otherwise we don’t even need to go there. But we also don’t need to spit out big tones and say that we can get on easily. Every game is brutally tough and everyone has to push their limits. Then I am confident that we will do well. “

A cohesive team effort is crucial anyway. “If we only have eleven egoists on the pitch, we won’t get very far. The key is that the team harmonizes well. “

90 international matches with ups and downs

Dragovic himself holds 90 internationals. At the tournament, he could not only discontinue the brand of Gerhard Hanappi (93 international matches), but also draw level with second-placed Toni Polster (95) in a quarter-finals entry in the eternal ÖFB performance record. Only Andreas Herzog (103) would then be in front of him.

“Of course, it makes me proud that I’ve been in the national team for twelve years now, that I’ve seen all the ups and downs,” said the Viennese. But the decisive factor is the team’s success. “Everything else comes by itself. It’s nice when I can play a few more games. But I’m not driving myself crazy that I could come across Andi Herzog. “

Schöpf has fond memories of 2016

Meanwhile, Alessandro Schöpf is probably the only player who has relatively good memories of the tournament in France. The Tyrolean was one of the few home bright spots in terms of performance and also scored the only ÖFB goal, which, however, was worthless because of the 1: 2 defeat against Iceland.

Nevertheless, Schöpf fondly thinks back to the 2016 finals, as he said on Thursday in Seefeld. “I have very fond memories of the EM. Now I hope that we will contest this EM as a team more positively and that I will look back on the upcoming EM as fondly as on the last one. “

Alessandro Schöpf scores against Iceland in 2016

Reuters/Christian Hartmann

With his left, Schöpf scored the second EM goal in ÖFB history, but the Icelanders won and rose

Schöpf holds 26 internationals and five goals, almost all of his goals were of great value. In October he shot the ÖFB team in the Nations League to a 1-0 away win against Romania. His goal to the 2-1 final score on June 2, 2018 in Klagenfurt against Germany meant the first victory over the big neighbor in 32 years. Three days earlier, the offensive man had made the selection to a 1-0 victory over the later World Cup quarter-finalists Russia.

Go looking for a club

This is probably one of the reasons why team boss Franco Foda thinks the 27-year-old is very important, even though his season at Schalke was extremely disappointing. The “Royal Blues” were relegated as the last beaten, Schöpf’s contract was not extended, which is why the wing is without a club. “I’ve never had a situation like this in my career.”

Good performance at the EM could make it easier to find a club. “Now I just want to step on the gas every day in training and show the trainer that I can be an option. The EM is a huge stage. I hope that I will be given working hours, that I will be able to call up my performance and that I will also be able to submit a small application letter. “


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