Austria captain Christian Fuchs has leapt to the defence of struggling team-mate David Alaba and backed the Bayern Munich player to have a “great game” against Iceland on Wednesday.
Alaba, who plays at full-back for his club but is shifted into midfield when away on national duty, has so far struggled to make an impact at Euro 2016.
Having been picked by coach Marcel Koller to play in the number 10 role against Portugal on Saturday, the 23-year-old was a peripheral figure before being substituted during the second half of the 0-0 draw.
Fuchs feels his compatriot has come in for some unfair criticism during the tournament, particularly as Austria are more than just a one-man team.
“It’s obvious that, as he plays for Bayern Munich and has won the Champions League, all the focus is on him,” he said.
“I don’t think that’s fair to him. He’s simply part of a team here.
“We as Austrians see the team as our star, rather than any one particular player.
“Obviously if he performs well it helps the team. I believe tomorrow he is going to play a great game, along with all the other guys.”
Austria have yet to find the net at Euro 2016 but Fuchs is confident they can break their duck against Iceland, who have managed a pair of 1-1 draws so far in France.
Victory at the Stade de France could see Koller’s squad make history – they have never previously made it beyond the group stage at a European Championship finals.
“What we showed as a team against Portugal makes me positive,” the Leicester City defender said.
“Maybe we are not that strong in attack – we haven’t had too many chances. But from a tactical point of view, we were quite attacking and always dangerous with our counter attacks.
“We know what this [game against Iceland] is all about. We will do everything. We will fight until the last second.
“We have done the first step with Portugal, now we have to be more efficient in attack.”
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