Hannes Richter

Austria Celebrates 100 Years of Soccer

Hannes Richter

Next to skiing, there is no other Austrian topic that commands so much attention as soccer. Founded in 1904, the Austrian Soccer Association (ÖFB) will celebrate 100 years of the sport, beginning with a Gala in the Viennese State Opera on August 17, followed by an international match against Germany the next day.

In the days of its infancy, the English school of soccer ruled, and they were the masters of the game. Since that time, much has changed. Today, some 285,000 players participate in 10,200 various teams and 2,309 different clubs for the championship in Austria.

The Miracle Team 1932

The national soccer team participated seven times in the world championship finals, taking fourth place in 1934 in Italy and third place in 1954 in Switzerland. But it was in the 1930s that Austrian soccer had its glory. With the so-called “Miracle Team,” Austria made history with stars like Matthias Sindelar, the “Papierene,” a genius with Czech roots. Thus, Scotland was defeated 5:0 in the Vienna Prater Stadium. Meisl’s “Miracle Team” won 12 victories out of a total of 15 during that season. Every child knew the names of the kickers, uniting mind and heart, finesse and fitness: Hiden, Schramseis, Sindelar. In Cordoba in 1978 in the game against Germany, even the commentator became a classic cult figure with his heated cry: “Krankl….Krankl, Goal, 3:2 for Austria…I’m going crazy!” Finger, Meisel and Jeschko, sport reporters for Die Presse and television legends accompanied the sports heroes after the war who, amidst rubble and ashes, brought success which was so important for national identity, performance and competition during the years of reconstruction.

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Soccer Coin

The Austrian Mint has issued on May 12, 2004 a commemorative 5 euro silver coin in honor of "100 Years of Soccer" in Austria. The coin depicts the shot by a soccer player who has just kicked the ball beyond the reach of the goalie into the net. The obverse of the coin shows the nine Austrian provincial shields around the figure 5. In 1894 the first soccer club was founded in Vienna. Ten years later in 1904, the Austrian Soccer Association was formed. Strong national teams flourished under this association. Perhaps best known was that of 1931, trained by Herbert Meisl, which remained undefeated throughout fourteen national matches. One of the proudest moments in Austrian soccer was when the team won third place in the world championships. Collectors in the U.S. and Canada may purchase the coin for 11.50 (US) or 15.33 (CDN) by calling Euro Collections International at: 1-888-904-5544. The coin may also be ordered online at: www.eurocollections.com