Thalhammer: I was not expecting to be nominated

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Thalhammer: I was not expecting to be nominated

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  • Thalhammer guided tournament debutants Austria to the European Championship semi-finals
  • The Vienna native has been in charge of Austria's women's national team since 2011
  • "I found out I was nominated in a text message"

Things are going well for Austria women's team coach Dominik Thalhammer at present. His team performed with conviction at the UEFA Women's EURO 2017 in the Netherlands, where they made it to the semi-finals. It is therefore no surprise that his work has caught the eye and that he is among the nominees for The Best FIFA Women's Coach Award 2017.

"I found out I was nominated in a text message when someone got in touch to congratulate me," Thalhammer told FIFA.com. "I was very surprised because I wasn't really expecting to be on the shortlist.

"On the one hand, it's a huge honour and recognition for me personally, and on the other hand, it shows an appreciation of the work of the entire women's department at the [Austrian] Football Association," he continued. "It's an award for our whole team. Without the staff and the players, it would've been impossible to pursue certain paths, objectives and visions."

Fact file

  • Was head of the FC Admira Wacker Modling youth academy and in 2004, at the age of 33, became the youngest person ever to coach in Austria's top division – a record that still stands to this day
  • Has been in charge of Austria's women's national team since 2011
  • Thalhammer was also responsible for the country's women's U-17 side until 2016
  • Additionally, he is sporting director of the Austrian FA's coach training programme

His work has paid dividends. Reaching the European Championship semi-finals helped Austria climb four rungs to 20th in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola Women's World Ranking, their highest-ever placing. Furthermore, they started FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ qualifying brightly with a 4-0 triumph over Serbia.

"In terms of the result, it was a very good start," said the Vienna native. "The team showed maturity to record such a big win, despite not putting in the best of performances. As such, we're satisfied with our start.

"Our aim is to repeat what we experienced in the Netherlands," Thalhammer continued. "Obviously, the chances of qualifying for a World Cup are smaller, but at the EURO, we were the perfect example of what you can achieve, if you have dreams, targets and vision to go with passion and enthusiasm. It's possible to do it again, and if we do it, would cause an even bigger sensation."

Thalhammer on his current crop of players:

In addition to possessing vision, passion and enthusiasm, the 46-year-old, who describes himself as ambitious, level-headed and perhaps even visionary, has achieved success thanks to his training philosophy.

  • "Really good but also very willing to learn"
  • "The players are always open to try new things and new ideas"
  • "They're very self-critical and never rest on their laurels"
  • "There is never any sense of standing still; further development is possible"

"We have certain principles we want to follow that come before anything else," Thalhammer said. "That's why we're able to play with great flexibility within our systems. It's not the basic formation that's decisive but these overriding principles, which can be implemented in every system. It's important for a team like Austria to excel through a certain tactical versatility in order to counterbalance certain advantages other teams have."