Austria wins Euro 2008 - at least on TV

Society Materials 7 June 2008 14:39 (UTC +04:00)

Co-hosts Austria defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in the Euro 2008 final - at least in a fictional Austrian TV documentary broadcast on Friday night, reported dpa.

On the eve of the real Euro 2008 start, Austrians received a heavy dose of optimism when national broadcaster ORF showed The Miracle of Vienna, a satire with a cast of real-life athletes and commentators, including German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, Austria coach Joseph Hickersberger and Poland coach Leo Beenhakker.

"It was the sort of idea you have after three beers," co-writer and director David Schalko told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The miracle unfolds after Austrian coach Josef Hickersberger drafts an unknown German, the only fictional character in the film, into the team.

The young striker becomes an Austrian citizen just in time to carry his squad to victory, from beating Croatia in the opening game to his final goal against the Dutch.

But the highlight for Austrian viewers comes when their team defeats arch-rival Germany in the semi-finals.

"That's the reason to play football in Austria, to thrash the Germans, and this was beautiful", former Austrian downhill skier Armin Assinger reacts in the fake documentary.

The small Alpine nation still cherishes its victory against Germany in the second group stage of the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Since then, Austria beat their bigger neighbour only once, in 1986.

Asked about his real-life outlook for Austria, Schalko said it all depended on the first game set for Sunday in Vienna.

"If Austria win or draw against Croatia, there will be a wave of public enthusiasm and they might make it to the quarter-finals," he said.