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Win for Thiago

Alaba: Qualifying with Austria is ‘indescribable’

A whole country is celebrating: For the first time since the 1998 World Cup, Austria have sealed a spot at a major tournament after a qualifying competition. The cheering following the last Euro 2016 qualifier against Liechtenstein in Vienna on Monday evening was endless even though the Austrians were already certain of their berth in France before kick-off. “Simply indescribable,” commented David Alaba, “this is very special, not only for me, but for the whole country. We have to enjoy this moment.”

Ten matches, nine victories, one draw: the Austrians' yield is impressive, especially since they competed with Russia and Sweden in Group G. In the last match they won 3-0 against fifth-placed Liechtenstein in front of a 50,000 crowd. Alaba was in the starting line-up, but was subbed off after 64 minutes, helping him preserve energy for the upcoming Bundesliga clash with Bremen.

Thiago was the second FC Bayern pro on international duty on Monday evening, featuring for the Spanish side that won 1-0 against Ukraine in Kyiv. The 24-year-old, called up for the first time in 19 months, played for 90 minutes and delivered a good performance. Thiago brilliantly assisted Mario Gaspar's match-winner in the 22nd minute. Spain qualified for France as group winners with 27 points from ten matches.