VIENNA (Reuters) - Whether it has any bearing on Monday’s crunch Euro 2008 match between the two countries is debatable but Austria drew first blood on Sunday when their topless women’s soccer team beat Germany 10-5.
The traditional swapping of shirts afterwards was not an option as the six-a-side teams wore nothing but thongs, with the national colors painted on to their bare skin.
The football may not have been of the highest quality but that did not temper the enthusiasm of a mostly male crowd boosted by a sizeable media presence only too happy to desert Euro 2008 training for an hour or two.
The match was organized by a chat room website.
Austria were delighted with a victory they hoped would be a morale-booster for their male counterparts but was not without its serious side.
“I hope our men will take heart from that tomorrow. We played pretty hard, we even had some injuries, like I for example broke my toe nail,” 29-year-old bank employee Doris Fastenmeir told Reuters.
The Germans took defeat sportingly and joined their opponents for alcopops and dancing at a beach club alongside the Danube.
“I was supposed to hold the balls but I really have no idea how to do that,” said German keeper Jana Bach.
“Maybe it is because I am not all that much into soccer. I am more into shoes to be honest.”
The verdict of the onlookers?
“They might have to work on their technique a bit but it was definitely a rather pleasant game to watch and a very nice version of the ‘beautiful game’,” said Rolf Hansen from Berlin.
Editing by Jon Bramley and Tony Jimenez