Socceroo sealed a place in the group stages with Austria Vienna.
The Champions League dream has become reality for James Holland after Austria Vienna qualified for the group stages of Europe’s elite competition.
The Austrian Bundesliga champions scored a 4-3 aggregate win over Croatian Champion’s Dinamo Zagreb to progress to that phase of the competition for the first time and Holland, who starred in both legs of the qualifier, admits it’s a lifelong ambition fulfilled
“It’s dream come true, it is the pinnacle of club football so it is something you grow up watching and something that I have always had the ambition of being in,” he told Four Four Two.
It’s a feat made even more special for the 24-year-old considering he was milling around the fringes of the first team picture at former club AZ Alkmaar for three years before his move to the Franz Horr Stadium in 2012.
Despite seeing patience tested to extreme levels Holland insists he never once considered surrendering his goal of mixing it with Europe’s finest players and is delighted to finally get his chance to experience the splendour of the Champions League.
“I always believed, it was always a goal for me. I have had the Champions League symbol on my wall for a number of years and have woken up to it every day,” he added.
“I went through periods where it was tough but I never stopped believing that if I continued to work hard that I would get there.”
Austria Vienna were pooled in Group D during Thursday’s draw procedure and will face heavyweights Porto, Atletico Madrid and Zenit St Petersburg, making them automatic favourites to finish bottom.