Euro 2008: Austria/Switzerland

The countdown has begun. A laser-show lit up the night sky from Vienna's Town Hall marking 500 days to the off. The mascots are up to their mischief, the team-strips tailored and tickets are selling like sachertorte. And on Sunday June 29th 2008, two sides will square up at Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadium for the grand final of the European Cup. The bookies are ready, and so should you be!

It was a long struggle for Austria to win the host's baton. In 2004 they got to the last hurdle in a joint bid with Hungary, only to be pipped to the post by Portugal. But in a new bid with fellow mountain men the Swiss, the Austrians came good. The action will be divided between Austria and Switzerland, with matches played in eight cities from Innsbruck to Zurich.

Above: Can Austria pull something out of the bag for Euro 2008? Recent performances suggest we shouldn't hold our breath!

Euro 2008: Venues and Groupings

If your eyes are on the main prize, you''ll be snapping up places in Vienna. The Austrian capital has scooped two quarter-finals, a semi and the grand final itself, making it the focus for most of the high drama. It's a city of cakes, and the Viennese have plucked all the best cherries.

But if you're following a particular team (your own if you're European!) the action is spread far and wide. Austria and Switzerland are providing four stadiums each for the shenanigans. The Austrians will be showcasing Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Vienna, whilst the Swiss are touting Basel, Berne, Geneva and Zurich. Of the latter, Basel gets the lion's share, with two quarter-finals and a semi.

Sixteen teams will take part in the tournament. As hosts, Austria and Switzerland have qualified automatically.

First Round

Group A
Host: Switzerland

June 7th, 2008 18:00 Switzerland vs. Czech Republic St. Jakob-Park, Basel
June 7th, 2008 20:45 Portugal vs. Turkey Stade de Geneve, Geneva
June 11th, 2008 18:00 Czech Republic vs. Portugal Stade de Geneve, Geneva
June 11th, 2008 20:45 Switzerland vs Turkey St. Jakob-Park, Basel
June 15th, 2008 20:45 Switzerland vs Portugal St. Jakob-Park, Basel
June 15th, 2008 20:45 Turkey vs Czech Republic Stade de Geneve, Geneva

Group B
Host: Austria

June 8th, 2008 18:00 Austria vs. Croatia Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna
June 8th, 2008 20:45 Germany vs Poland Worthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt
June 12th, 2008 18:00 Croatia vs. Germany Worthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt
June 12th, 2008 20:45 Austria vs. Poland Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna
June 16th, 2008 20:45 Austria vs.Germany Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna
June 16th, 2008 20:45 Poland vs. Croatia Worthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt

Group C
Host: Switzerland

June 9th, 2008 18:00 Romania vs. France C4 Letzigrund Stadion, Zurich
June 9th, 2008 20:45 Netherlands vs. Italy Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf, Berne
June 13th, 2008 18:00 Italy vs. Romania Letzigrund Stadion, Zrich
June 13th, 2008 20:45 Netherlands vs. France Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf, Berne
June 17th, 2008 20:45 Netherlands vs. Romania Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf, Berne
June 17th, 2008 20:45 France vs. Italy Letzigrund Stadion, Zurich

Group D
Host: Austria

June 10th, 2008 18:00 Spain vs. Russia Tivoli-Neu Stadion, Innsbruck
June 10th, 2008 20:45 Greece vs. Sweden Wals Siezenheim Stadium, Salzburg
June 14th, 2008 18:00 Sweden vs. Spain Tivoli-Neu Stadion, Innsbruck
June 14th, 2008 20:45 Greece vs. Russia Wals Siezenheim Stadium, Salzburg
June 18th, 2008 20:45 Greece vs. Spain Wals Siezenheim Stadium, Salzburg
June 18th, 2008 20:45 Russia vs. Sweden Tivoli-Neu Stadion, Innsbruck

Euro 2008: Staying on the Ball in Vienna

Matches

Seven matches are scheduled for Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadium. These begin with a trio of group games (June 8th, 12th and 16th), followed by two quarter-finals (June 20th, 22nd), a semi (June 26th) and the Grand Final itself (Sunday June 29th).

That said, you don't need tickets for every game to soak up some of the tournament buzz. The revelry will surge through Vienna, where several viewing points are planned for the duration of the cup. Coverage of all matches in Austria and Switzerland will be relayed from massive screens around the capital. Of these, the pick of the bunch will be in front of the Town Hall (Rathaus). There an enclosure is ear-marked to accommodate 200,000 fans, with beer and sausage stalls to boot (much to the surprise of neighbouring nobs at the Burgtheater, who weren't consulted).

The City

For several centuries Vienna rivalled London and Paris as one of the great imperial capitals of Europe. It's still right up there amongst the most sumptuous cities on the continent, offering a sensational backdrop for the coming cup. That said, for all its imperial whirl, Vienna is no mad metropolis. It's a distinctly homely place with a fondness for the laid back. There's always time to linger in a cafe and have a gossip. So much so that anyone who's set foot here of late will know that the prospect of a major football tournament presents one or two comic possibilities. For all things considered, Vienna is something of a dainty old dame. In fact, of all Europe's capitals, Vienna must rank as the most genteel of the lot (closely followed by co-host Zurich). It's no rough and tumble here - more cakes and strudel. In short, Vienna hosting a major football championship is a bit like Queen Elizabeth inviting a pair of Sumo wrestlers to square up in her drawing room. Monty Python would love it. All the same, foreign journalists have been hailing Vienna as an increasingly hip destination in recent years (with good reason) and fans should have a cracking time in the city - it's a beauty.

Comments

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SENECOT CHRISTOPHER from France Reply Dec 11th, 2009

HELLO EVERYBODY I SEARCH TO COMPLETE MY COLLECTION A TICKET FROM THE MATCH N°12 EURO 2008 AUSTRIA POLAND. IS ANYBODY HERE TO HELP ME????? PLEASE SEND TO ME YOUR PROPOSITIONS I CAN BUY OR SWAP THIS TICKET REGARDS KRIS

Hans-Juergen from Iceland Reply Jun 6th, 2008

Deutschland vor, noch ein Tor !!!! We wont the cup.! We wont the Cup ! No messing about as usual, please.We have a great team again.See you in kultured Wien. Wien, Wien, nur Du allein wirst uns dabei sehr behilflich sein ?Deutschland vor, noch ein Tor!

Jim from United Kingdom Reply May 25th, 2008

Have booked tickets for final even though England's not performing. What the hell, should still be a great tournament. See you in Vienna!

Franz from Austria Reply May 15th, 2008

Go Austria! Go!

Todd from United States Reply Apr 9th, 2008

I've got my tickets for Euro 2008 austria! See you boys there!

Jarek from Poland Reply Apr 3rd, 2008

Poland will win !!

Georgie from United Kingdom Reply Feb 28th, 2008

looking forward to Euro 2008 in Austria. Not sure who i'll support without the three lions being there, but my mate lives in Vienna so i'm going to go and soak up the atmosphere - which is always great during the big football tournaments

Katarina Veneris from Australia Reply Nov 25th, 2007

May the best team with the most luck win- Good luck to Sweden and Poland and Austria.

Marko from United Kingdom Reply Nov 22nd, 2007

Job vacant. Goalkeeper for England. Working arms and legs an advantage.

Dan from United Kingdom Reply Nov 22nd, 2007

England out. They had it coming really. Maybe they won't have such an overblown image of themselves next time (which might even do the team a favour in the long run). In the meantime, the Viennese must be thanking their lucky stars that the barmy army will be taking time off. Meanwhile Euro 2008 remains wide open....

Jimbo from United Kingdom Reply Nov 19th, 2007

Can't believe England are still in with a chance! Thanks Israel, it's always professionalism at its most commendable when a team gives a good performance despite nothing to play for but pride. What with Croatia's slip up, things couldn't be looking much better for McClaren and the boys given the earlier forecast. Might see you all in Austria/Switzerland this 2008 after all!

Christian from Austria Reply Oct 31st, 2007

Hey! Austria may have been losing 9 games in a row but we won the 10th one. So maybe we will now win 9 in a row!!!

Sam from United Kingdom Reply Oct 18th, 2007

A painful, painful loss last night. Yes, those penalties were painful. Russia wins - England hanging on by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin. Too much!

Craig from United Kingdom Reply Oct 15th, 2007

England are flying! Wouldn't say Euro 2008 qualification is in the bag, but we seem stronger than for a long time and for once you can say that we have real strength and depth in the squad - with Lampard being kept out!

Greg from United States Reply Oct 15th, 2007

Well, it looks like we Scots - the underdogs - may just be making our way to Austria next June. Top of the group so far!!. hard luck for Ukraine but its looking good for the Tartan army!!!!

Danny Boy from United Kingdom Reply Oct 11th, 2007

We've already bought our plane tickets for Euro 2008! Expecting some quality football. And more.... Ladies of Austria - get ready for the Croydon lads!!!

Dunkowski from United Kingdom Reply Sep 14th, 2007

The first half against Russia was one of the best performances I have seen from an England team in recent years. Our quality really showed (for a change) with great control and lovely passing movements. If we can keep this up not only will we qualify for Euro 2008 we could even go further and get to the semi-finals or even final. Ok, Russia put us under pressure for the first ten minutes of the second half, but the final scoreline says it all. We were comfortably the better team, and Owen proved we have a world class striker who will take his chances at this level and bury them. THe big question (for England fans at least... sorry if this is boring for the rest of you!) is whether McClaren should stick with same players. Ok, Heskey has done ok (actually the same that he always did - don't understand why he got so much stick before, or so much praise now) but Rooney will give us much more. Richards should stay above of Neville and as for the midfield I won't pretend to know the answers, but it should be a case of strong or really strong whoever the gaffer picks. See you in Vienna!

Sloppy J from United Kingdom Reply Sep 10th, 2007

3-0 and we're on our way to Vienna!

Stefan from Austria Reply Aug 24th, 2007

Can not wait until Euro 2008. Austria finally has the chance to be winning something!!!!!

Doug Patters from United Kingdom Reply Aug 21st, 2007

Just hoping we get there at the moment.... Qualify, qualify, qualify is the word!

Vienna Life from United Kingdom Reply Aug 1st, 2007

Pete, at present, a weak beer is on the cards for the official enclosures. Also, plastic cups will rule the roost. However, there are plenty of fantastic places in Vienna to investigate worthier brews - all best for now...!

Pete from United Kingdom Reply Jul 23rd, 2007

Is it true that Austria has banned all beer apart from a weak official one for the tournament?

Herman from Austria Reply Jul 3rd, 2007

Go Austria! Go, Go. Go! Now's the time!

Jonas from Sweden Reply Jun 18th, 2007

Morten - as the English say -'that is how the cookie crumbles'

Morten from Denmark Reply Jun 5th, 2007

Looks like we won't be coming to Austria. All because of one Danish idiot! I can't believe it - whole nation suffers because of one idiot. Although he was right - it was never a penalty. Stupid referee. Stupid fan. F@ck life sucks!

Jonnie from United Kingdom Reply May 31st, 2007

We're on our way lads. Schnitzel it up for Austria 2008!

Jim S. from United Kingdom Reply Apr 30th, 2007

Wow. Now Poland and Ukraine get Euro 2012. Hungary loses out third time in a row. Painful...! They've got to get it next time if they can still face it. Meanwhile, see you in Austria....!

Dan from United Kingdom Reply Mar 26th, 2007

I agree Stjepan, and not only Portugal, Spain too. And after their performance against Israel England might not even set foot in Vienna!!!

Stjepan from Belarus Reply Mar 26th, 2007

I'm not to sure if Portugal are so strong maybe they won't qualify that would be funny

Martin Pitout from United Kingdom Reply Mar 21st, 2007

Surely Portugal??? Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the best player in the world PLUS they know how to take penalties a bit better than some teams!!! England don't look that cohesive - should they bring back Beckham????

izcar from Spain Reply Mar 20th, 2007

spain will take the cup papa best team ever

Vladimir from Ukraine Reply Mar 15th, 2007

I'm going to bet on the Swiss First of all they are the co-hosts and the referees will help them and second they have a good and young squad

Nick from United Kingdom Reply Mar 15th, 2007

That's an interesting theory Jerzy - perhaps the Poles will find their form. After all, if I remember rightly, they've been victorious at Vienna before. King Jan Sobieski saved the day at Vienna back in 1683. Perhaps it's time for a reprisal! See you at Ernst Happel Stadium - June 2008!

Jerzy from Poland Reply Mar 14th, 2007

I think that Poland can be the black horse of the tournament, because Leo Benhaker is theri coach D O B O J U P O L S K A !!!

Big D from United Kingdom Reply Mar 12th, 2007

Can't wait for Euro 2008 in Austria - already booked my tickets over to Vienna! There was a fantastic atmosphere in Portugal in 2004 and I'm sure the same good humour will prevail in Austria and Switzerland... It is too early for a cry for of ROOOOOOOOOOOOONNNEYYY? Surely not!