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Austria prepare shock for the Netherlands

© Reuters 2002

VIENNA, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Austria plan to use their status as underdogs to surprise the Netherlands in their Euro 2004 qualifier on Wednesday, coach Hans Krankl has said.

Krankl's side secured the country's first away victory in two years on Saturday when they beat Belarus 2-0 in Minsk to take control of qualifying Group Three.

But the much-vaunted Dutch, who failed to qualify for this year's World Cup finals, will present a different proposition for Austria.

"We have absolutely no chance, and we're going to use it," Krankl said in an interview on Austrian television.

"Our win in Minsk brought us confidence, and we will do our best against the Dutch, just like we did on Saturday against Belarus.

"Of course the Dutch are stronger, they are a class above, but we will prepare ourselves as best we can, play tactically and with discipline."

Markus Schopp, scorer of Austria's first goal against Belarus, said it would work in Austria's favour if the Netherlands, European champions in 1988, thought of them as a weak opponent.

"It is our chance that the Dutch underestimate us," Schopp said. "That arrogance cost them in the last World Cup qualifiers, and we can hopefully take advantage of it as well."

Austria have the better head-to-head record against the Dutch, winning six and losing four of 14 matches between the countries since 1912.

Austria have six points from two games in qualifying Group Three, with the Netherlands and the Czech Republic both on three points from one game.

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