Croatia 0-3 Austria: Ralf Rangnick’s reign begins with dominant victory
Ralf Rangnick’s reign as Austria manager began with a hugely impressive Nations League win in Croatia.
Rangnick endured a difficult period as Manchester United’s interim boss last season, missing out on Champions League qualification.
But he started his Austria tenure in superb style, thumping the 2018 World Cup finalists.
Goals from Marko Arnautovic, Michael Gregoritsch and Marcel Sabitzer earned a comfortable win.
Former West Ham forward Arnautovic, now at Bolgona in Serie A, scored the first goal of the Rangnick era with a fine 20-yard strike four minutes before the break.
Gregoritsch lashed in a first-time effort from 12 yards shortly after half-time and Sabitzer added a wonderful third from 25 yards three minutes later.
Croatia brought on Luka Modric, who won the Champions League with Real Madrid last week, but by that stage it was too little, too late.
It was the ideal start for Rangnick, who announced last Sunday that his plans to stay on as a consultant at Old Trafford would be scrapped so he could focus on the Austria job.
He has the task of taking them forward following their failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup – they were beaten by Wales in a play-off semi-final.
And his first match could hardly have gone any better.
The 63-year-old has had a long and varied career, managing 11 different club sides, but this is his first shot at international management.
In the other game in Group A1, Nations League holders France were beaten 2-1 by Denmark.
- 5Caleta-CarBooked at 74mins
- 19SosaSubstituted forBarisicat 45′minutes
- 8KovacicSubstituted forOrsicat 71′minutes
- 4MajerSubstituted forModricat 58′minutes
- 15PasalicSubstituted forVlasicat 58′minutes
- 9KramaricSubstituted forBudimirat 58′minutes
- 15WöberSubstituted forFriedlat 77′minutes
- 21LainerSubstituted forTrimmelat 45′minutes
- 23SchlagerBooked at 30mins
- 10WeimannSubstituted forBaumgartnerat 72′minutes
- 7ArnautovicSubstituted forSeiwaldat 45′minutes
- 18OnisiwoSubstituted forGregoritschat 45′minutes
Match ends, Croatia 0, Austria 3.
Second Half ends, Croatia 0, Austria 3.
Josip Brekalo (Croatia) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Marco Friedl (Austria).
Attempt missed. Ante Budimir (Croatia) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Josip Juranovic with a cross.
Attempt saved. Marco Friedl (Austria) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marcel Sabitzer.
Foul by Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia).
Christoph Baumgartner (Austria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nikola Vlasic (Croatia).
Kevin Danso (Austria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ante Budimir (Croatia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Christoph Baumgartner (Austria).
Attempt saved. Xaver Schlager (Austria) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Michael Gregoritsch.
Offside, Austria. Konrad Laimer tries a through ball, but Michael Gregoritsch is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Marcel Sabitzer (Austria) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the centre of the goal.
Borna Barisic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Konrad Laimer (Austria).
Substitution, Austria. Marco Friedl replaces Maximilian Wöber.
Foul by Nikola Vlasic (Croatia).
Michael Gregoritsch (Austria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.