Tuesday, April 30, 2013
30 April 1977 - Austria Cranks Up The Heat
After finishing third in the 1954 World Cup, Austria had struggled, advancing only to the group stage in 1958, withdrawing in 1962, then failing to qualify for the 1966, 1970, and 1974 tournaments. But they started off their campaign for the 1978 World Cup by winning their first two games against Malta and Turkey by identical 1-0 scores.
For their third match, they hosted the return fixture against Malta in Salzburg. There, Krankl, who had scored the winner against Malta in the previous game, struck again with a goal in the 9th minute. He scored three more in the span of just over ten minutes (12', 18', 20') before Josef Stering added another in the 30th minute to give Austria a 5-0 lead at the break.
Things were little better for Malta in the second half, as both Krankl (53', 66') and Stering (69') again found the back of the net, along with Hans Pirkner (65'). The final margin of 9-0 remains Austria's biggest win.
They ultimately won their qualification group to reach the tournament, then won their first-round group, but were eliminated in the second group stage.