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Austria boss Franco Foda: "We wanted to write history"

Austria boss Franco Foda:
© Reuters
Victory over Ukraine earned Austria a last-16 meeting with Italy at Euro 2020.

Austria boss Franco Foda expressed his pride in his history-making team after they beat Ukraine 1-0 in Bucharest to secure a place in the last 16 of Euro 2020.

Christoph Baumgartner netted a 21st-minute winner as Austria leapfrogged their opponents to claim second spot in Group C and reach the European Championship knockout stages for the first time.

Marko Arnautovic also side-footed wide from a great position just before half-time as the Austrians created a number of opportunities.

Foda, whose men now face Italy at Wembley on Saturday, said at his post-match press conference: "These are the beautiful moments in football, when you win matches.

"We wanted to write history, this was our objective – from the first day on we defined this target. We wanted to make it into the knockout stage, we made it, historical win and just congratulations to my team.

"I'm very proud of them, the way they performed today. From the first minute on you could see they wanted to win this match. The only thing is we could have been more clinical, we could have scored the second or the third.

"But overall I'm very proud, for the whole team, the whole staff around. This victory belongs to all of us, also to the fans."

Looking ahead to the match against Group A winners Italy, who are unbeaten in 30 matches, Foda said: "It looks like the task is a very difficult one because Italy hasn't lost in a while.

"But at some point you will lose a match and if we act and perform like today I think we have our options against Italy. We know how they play, we will find solutions and in one match everything is possible."

Ukraine must wait to see if they will be among the best four third-placed finishers, having ended up with three points from their three group matches.

Boss Andriy Shevchenko said at his post-match press conference: "I think we physically were not ready. It is always difficult for us to play in such a short period of time three games.

"Today we had a lot of unforced errors. But it is not even about the episodes today, we are talking about the whole game. It was physically really tough for us. We were late everywhere. We weren't ready.

"In spite of that, the team was still fighting until the end. We tried to find opportunities – we can count them on one hand but we still tried and I'm happy my team didn't lose spirit. They kept believing and that is the only optimistic moment if you analyse the game."

Ukraine midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko labelled the team's first-half display "unacceptable".

The Manchester City player told EURO2020.com: "I'm so disappointed. I don't even know what to say. Our performance in the first half was unacceptable. The way we behaved on the pitch was unacceptable. We felt very well ahead of the game in the training sessions but nothing worked for us tonight."

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Russia's Aleksei Miranchuk celebrates scoring against Finland at Euro 2020 on June 16, 2021
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