Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Group 3 looked a weakling compared to Group 2. Turkey and Malta nobody counted and the race was to be between East Germany and Austria. Italy or England surely out of the finals and either DDR or Austria in – it appeared entirely unfair, given the relative strength and tradition. Only three matches were played in 1976, and it was clear by then than the East Germans were not what they were in 1974, but once again run-of-the-mill team. Austria on the hand had talented new generation with modern stars – Prohazka, Krankl, and Pezzey. Add the very good goalkeeper Koncilia, and great skeleton was already at hand. Austria and East Germany were unable to beat each other, ending both matches between themselves 1-1 tied. Neither country lost a match in the campaign, but the East Germans stumbled heavily very early – they were unable to win the home match against Turkey. The 1-1 tie more or less informed Austrian strategy – they finished their games before DDR, so the ties with the rivals more or less decided who would go to Argentina: Austria pulled its strength at the visit in Izmir, overcoming Turkey 1-0 and was out of reach 3 points ahead of the East Germans. The last two fixtures in the group were mere protocol – DDR won its last match in the same Izmir, but it did not matter a bit.

1.AUSTRIA 6 4 2 0 14- 2 10

2.East Germany 6 3 3 0 15- 4 9

3.Turkey 6 2 1 3 9- 5 5

4.Malta 6 0 0 6 0-27 0
Austria rising after years of mediocrity. Nobody took them seriously yet, but the new great players were noticed.