Marc Janko:

Arnautovic? “He won’t be the stinker”

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10.06.2024 09:34

"I don't think he'll be the big stinker if he doesn't play from the start," said former goalscorer Marc Janko about Marko Arnautovic. For the 40-year-old, there is less pressure on the Austrian team at this year's European Championship than in 2016: "We are a nation that can, but doesn't have to, perform."

He scored Austria's last win against France. Marc Janko scored the opening goal and won a penalty in the 3-1 World Cup qualifier in Vienna in September 2008. It was a sensation at the time. The former goal scorer believes that the ÖFB team are more likely to spring a surprise at the upcoming European Championships. "The dynamism, professionalism and prudence in the team have gone up so many levels," Janko explained in an interview with APA.

"That's a huge advantage"
16 years ago, France were "an almost overpowering opponent who underestimated us a little", said Janko. The French will also be the clear favorites for the opening game of the European Championship next Monday in Düsseldorf. Under Ralf Rangnick, however, they have already proven that they can upset them (1:1 in the Nations League/note). "Especially in the first game, that's a huge advantage," emphasized Janko. "I can't remember when a tournament favorite has ever had an easy time of it."

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We are a nation that can show up, but doesn't have to.

Marc Janko

The 40-year-old believes that the other group opponents, Poland and the Netherlands, are "absolutely within reach". The Dutch have enough quality to be considered the secret favorites. "But it's no longer like in the noughties, when they had what felt like a world selection." The difficult draw could even play into the Austrians' hands. "It's a good starting position," said Janko. "There is a more subdued euphoria."

That was different in 2016, when Janko and Co. marched through qualifying under Marcel Koller. "After the draw, everyone thought we were through." In the end, they were eliminated in the group stage against Hungary (0:2), Portugal (0:0) and Iceland (1:2). Janko: "Expectations aren't quite as high as they were back then, which can be an advantage because the pressure isn't as high. We are a nation that can perform, but doesn't have to."

Marc Janko (Bild: GEPA )
Marc Janko

The 2016 European Championship, his only major event with the ÖFB team, did not go well. Nevertheless, only "little things" were missing, said the 70-time international (28 goals). He did not want to overestimate internal team disagreements. "Far too much has been read into that. I still think it was incredibly close."

Janko was not fully fit for the tournament. Two months before the European Championships, he suffered a thigh injury. In the last test match (0:2), Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk then landed with his full weight on his neck. "That was much more serious. I couldn't turn my head for four days." The EURO exit was on the cards. "It was a difficult situation. It felt like the highlight of my career, I really wanted to make it - knowing full well that I wasn't at my full potential."

The role of the almost irreplaceable striker in the ÖFB team this time goes to Michael Gregoritsch. "He has developed incredibly in recent years," Janko said of the 30-year-old. "He embodies this role as a one-man striker well." The idea of Gregoritsch from the start and Marko Arnautovic from the bench could work.

"Marko Arnautovic can always make the difference"
Arnautovic also seems to have accepted his role. "I don't think he'll be the big stinker if he doesn't play from the start," Janko said of his long-time ÖFB colleague. "He'll do what he did at Inter Milan, that when he comes in, he exudes danger. There's no question that he can make the difference. A Marko Arnautovic can always make the difference."

The absence of Xaver Schlager and David Alaba hurts the ÖFB team enormously. "David is one of the most successful club footballers of all time," said Janko, referring to his 37 title wins. The fact that he is going to the tournament despite his cruciate ligament rupture is "a cool move".

Alaba could give valuable tips. "Experience is everything in the coaching business," said Janko, who ended his career in 2019 and is currently completing his B license himself - not with the aim of becoming a coach, but because he wanted to get a different perspective on the sport. The Sky expert will be in demand at company events during the EURO. He will also be attending the European Championship match against the Netherlands privately. He named France and England as tournament favorites.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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