The National Sport of Austria is Soccer.
Soccer in Austria brings communities together, fostering camaraderie and showcasing their rich sporting history.
To learn more about sports culture in Austria, read our article about the most popular sports in Austria.
Table of Contents
#1 History of Soccer
- 1894: Formation of the Austrian Football Association (Österreichischer Fußball-Bund or ÖFB).
- 1904: Austria becomes a founding member of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).
- 1931: Austria’s national team, known as the Wunderteam, earns international acclaim for their impressive performance in the 1930s, coached by Hugo Meisl.
- 1954: Austria finishes third in the FIFA World Cup, marking their best-ever performance in the tournament’s history.
- 1978: Austrian striker Hans Krankl becomes a national hero after scoring the winning goal against West Germany in the 1978 World Cup, known as the “Miracle of Cordoba.”
- 1990s-2000s: The Austrian Bundesliga sees the rise of dominant clubs such as Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg.
#2 Culture and Traditions
Soccer holds a special place in Austria’s cultural identity, with fans passionately supporting both local clubs and the national team. The sport unifies people from various backgrounds, transcending social and regional barriers.
Central to Austria’s soccer culture are local derbies, such as the “Wiener Derby” between the traditional rivals Rapid Vienna and Austria Vienna. Fans eagerly anticipate these matches, which showcase the best of Austrian soccer and its intense rivalries. Large-scale public viewings during international tournaments, such as the World Cup and European Championships, create a festive atmosphere around the sport.
While professional leagues are at the forefront, amateur and youth soccer also hold great importance in Austria. Youth development programs and lower-league clubs all contribute to the growth of the sport and nurturing future talent.
#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment
📕 Rules & Gameplay
- Match Duration: A standard match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break in between.
- Objective: Each team tries to score by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
- Players: Each team has 11 players, including one goalkeeper.
- Offside: A player is offside if they are nearer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second last opponent when the ball is played to them.
- Fouls: Direct and indirect free-kicks and penalty kicks are awarded for infringements of the rules.
⚙️ Equipment & Gear
- Ball: Round and made of leather or another suitable material.
- Goalposts: Located at each end of the field, they are 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 meters tall.
- Kits: Teams wear distinguishing kits, with goalkeepers wearing different colors to stand out.
- Shin Guards: Protection for players from potential tackles or hits.
- Boots: Specialized shoes designed for the sport’s requirements.
#4 Modern Development of Soccer
In recent decades, Austrian soccer has shown promising development, with clubs like Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid Vienna gaining a stronger presence in European competitions. These clubs have made significant investments in youth development, which has led to the emergence of talented Austrian players.
Technological advancements also play a role in the modernization of the sport in Austria. The adoption of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology has been crucial in ensuring fair play and accuracy in match decisions, mirroring global trends in soccer.
Austria has made strides in women’s soccer, with the national women’s team consistently improving their performance in international competitions. The rising popularity and recognition of women’s soccer in Austria indicate a positive trajectory for future development and success in the sport.
#5 Soccer and the Olympics
Soccer has been a consistent part of the Olympic Games since the early 20th century. The Austrian soccer team has made several appearances in the Olympics, with their most outstanding performance in 1964 when they secured a bronze medal in Tokyo. This success was crucial in boosting the sport’s popularity in the country.
Participation in the Olympics has provided a platform for Austrian soccer players to showcase their talent on a global stage. The Olympic Games played a significant role in promoting soccer as a worldwide phenomenon, with increased attention and recognition paving the way for the sport’s growth in Austria and beyond.
#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements
- Hans Krankl: A legendary Austrian striker, known for his scoring prowess and the memorable goal in the 1978 World Cup against West Germany, dubbed “The Miracle of Cordoba.”
- Toni Polster: One of Austria’s most prolific goal-scorers, having scored 44 goals in 95 appearances for the national team and enjoying a successful club career spanning across Europe.
- David Alaba: A versatile player who has excelled as a defender and midfielder, Alaba is a key player for the national team and has achieved significant success with his club, Bayern Munich.
- Herbert Prohaska: Known as “Schneckerl” for his curly hair, Prohaska represented Austria in numerous international tournaments and had a distinguished club career with Austria Vienna and Inter Milan.
#7 Where to watch Soccer
- Sky Sport Austria and DAZN: Popular platforms for watching Austrian Bundesliga matches, Champions League games, and other European club competitions.
- ORF Sport: The public broadcaster offers coverage of selected Austrian Bundesliga matches, national team games, and weekly highlights shows.
- Live in Austria: Experience thrilling live soccer matches at notable stadiums such as Allianz Stadion (Vienna), Red Bull Arena (Salzburg), and Merkur Arena (Graz).