Austria boss Franco Foda hailed his history makers after a 3-1 Euro 2020 win over North Macedonia
Late goals from substitutes Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic in Bucharest earned Austria their first ever victory at a European Championships.
Stefan Lainer had given them the lead, only for Goran Pandev to equalise for the minnows before the break.
“We deservedly won and congratulations to the lads, they wrote history today,” said Foda after the Group C win.
“Overall I’m very satisfied, we started well and deservedly scored the opener. We could have scored a second, but then we didn’t focus in one moment and conceded the equaliser.
“In the second half we talked about two or three things, to play faster and more on the wings. We were more agile and the substitutes showed their effect.
“The substitutes were important, which is why you have players on the bench. A team consists of 26 players. With Marko, in preparation he was injured, didn’t train that much and that’s why I decided to bring him on later.
“This last week he trained with us more, but I don’t know if we want to start him or play him for 60 or 70 minutes (in the next game against Holland). The players see it in a different way, but Marko is a key player in our team.”
Lainer’s classy close-range volley from Marcel Sabitzer’s arrowed cross gave Austria the lead after 18 minutes, only for Pandev to level 10 minutes later when he cashed in on Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann’s mistake.
North Macedonia held firm until 12 minutes from time when Gregoritsch stole in at the near post to convert David Alaba’s excellent delivery.
Former West Ham star Arnautovic then added a third in stoppage time to add the gloss to Austria’s win.
“I can’t not be proud of my players who qualified. We functioned well, there were moments where we had possession and control of the situation,” said North Macedonia boss Igor Angelovski.
“The key was the second goal from Austria, but there is no room for disappointment. We have to improve ourselves in order not to repeat the mistakes we have done.
“The aim was to provide chances for Goran in attack and we knew we played against a national team who run a lot.
“I’m speechless about the atmosphere our supporters created. I hope we can reward them with a good result in the next match.
“We’ve two matches to go and will start to prepare ourselves for the next game against Ukraine.”