Austria VS Ireland Prediction
Group D of the 2018 FIFA World Cup European Qualifiers continues on Saturday night, 12.11.2016, when earlier game involving two of the favourites meets hosts Austria and joint leaders Republic of Ireland. Less than a hour after the final whistle at the “Ernst-Happel-Stadion” in Vienna, Wales is set to host to the other joint leader Serbia, so after the group D’s football schedule on Saturday evening, we may either have even more tied situation or we can have clear favourites for top two position. Second scenario will be possible if both Ireland and Serbia win in their visits, otherwise victories of the home teams can make situation extremely intriguing. Draws are also possible and this will pretty much keep current positioning (of course, if we have similar results on both matches in a first place), where at the moment Serbia is on top of the group due to better goal difference compared to Ireland’s – +4 against +3. Both sides remain unbeaten and they have 7 points after two wins and a draw, but Wales are also without a loss, although they have 5 points – one win and two draws.
Head-to-head record (H2H) – Austria vs Ireland
Austria holds really convincing record when it comes to their direct encounters against the Republic of Ireland, having won in 9 out of 14 games. On other turn Ireland have just two victories against “Das Team” and last one from them remains more than 50 years ago (October 1963) – 3-2 win in the Euro 1964 qualifiers. After that game we have 8 more matches facing Austria vs Ireland, where best “The Boys in Green” could get was a draw – two 2-2 draws, in a friendly match on 10 November 1968, as well as in their most recent history – from 2013.
Last two-legged encounter between both nations was part from the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying when both sides were together in Group C, alongside Germany and Sweden. Well, Austria and Ireland were respectively third and fourth in that group, but “Das Team” has extended its good streak over “The Green Army” – 2-2 draw in Dublin, followed by a narrow success for Austria few months later. David Alaba has scored the winning goal in 84th minute, which was third successive home win for Austria against Ireland, as well as their fifth one in the last six meetings home and away.
Austria vs Ireland – Team News and Match Preview
In general view Austria remains behind that leading trio since “Das Team” lost by Serbia in Belgrade, which was second unsuccessful result for Austria after their victory in Georgia. After winning the opening round Marcel Koller’s men fail to justify the expectations and first of all they had to catch up Wales twice, for the 2-2 draw in Vienna, while situation in Belgrade was very similar. Serbia took the lead twice and Austrians answered in both occasions, but they failed to do so for the third time, when Dusan Tadic scored a third goal. Thus Austria remains with four points from first three rounds so their match against “The Boys in Green” could easily turn into a breaking point for all further hopes.
The same goes for guests from Republic of Ireland, who are undefeated after the 1/8 final loss by France on Euro 2016, having three victories and one draw in the period. First win came in a friendly match against Oman in Robbie Keane’s official farewell with national team football, while all other results are part from the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign of “The Green Army”.
Martin O’Neill’s men began with visit to Belgrade where both current leaders met and game has ended with a 2-2 draw. Thereafter Ireland had two encounters against group underdogs in October, winning twice – 1-0 vs Georgia in Dublin, followed by a 3-1 win in Moldova.
Austria vs Ireland – Betting Prediction and Possible Lineups
All positive results will surely boost Ireland’s confidence prior vital game in Austria, where another positive result can be a massive step ahead. Martin O’Neill aims to qualify Ireland on their first World Cup since the competition in 2002, when “The Boys in Green” lost on penalties from Spain on the 1/8 finals. Ireland were close to qualify to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but most of you probably remember their playoff with France and the controversial goal scored by defender William Gallas, as a result of Thierry Henry’s handball. Anyway, that remains in the history and it seems Ireland have realistic chances to claim one of the 13 positions awarded for UEFA members in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Republic of Ireland travels for Austria without few names who couldn’t make it to the final squad, although they’ve been named in the preliminary selection. Most notable absentees are of left-back Stephen Ward (Burnley), centre-back Cyrus Christie (Derby County), as well as the two central midfielders Stephen Quinn (Reading) and James McCarthy (Everton). Another massive blow is related with name of Shane Long, who has been ruled out of the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier in Austria due to hamstring injury.
Long’s absence leaves Ireland’s boss with four options – Stoke City’s Jon Walters, Adam Rooney (Aberdeen), Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids) and David McGoldrick (Ipswich) will compete for spot on top. Walters traditionally starts on the right flank and his position from the outset looks out of question, so the only question is related with his exact position. Moreover, Walters was the one who scored both goals for Ireland in the 2-2 draw against Austria from March 2013.
Austria will be keen to maintain its positive balance over Ireland but winning of the game should be a priority for Marcel Koller. Both October results just don’t leave another option for Austria, if they want to be considered for one of the top Group D pretenders.
Marcel Koller must pick its squad without three injured players – goalkeeper Robert Almer (Austria Vienna), defender Sebastian Prödl (Watford) and midfielder Zlatko Junuzović (Werder Bremen). Meanwhile Christian Fuchs has retired from international football after the UEFA Euro 2016 finals, so left-back position remains pretty doubtful, since mot of you probably know that David Alaba plays as a midfielder for his national team.
Thus Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham), Markus Suttner (Ingolstadt 04) and Stefan Stangl (Red Bull Salzburg) are few of the players who can fill that gap, where Wimmer has been chosen for starter in both October games. However, Wimmer isn’t the typical left back and his main position is of central defender, so we believe Suttner (who started in Georgia) can be brought back into the starting XI.
Sebastian Prödl’s absence won’t be an issue since the 29-year-old defender is backup of the centre-back duo featuring names of two Bundesliga players – Aleksandar Dragovic (Bayer Leverkusen) and Martin Hinteregger (FC Augsburg).
Martin Harnik returns in selection but he can make way to winger of the surprising Bundesliga contenders (RB Leipzig) – Marcel Sabitzer, who is in fine form, and to clarify that he scored both goals for “The Red Bulls” from Leipzig during their 2-0 win over Darmstadt 98 only two weeks ago. Zlatko Junuzovic can be replaced by another player from the new wave of Austrian players, who can boast with good efforts in the 2016-17 season. That’s Schalke’s Alessandro Schöpf, who made serious request for starting position in the weekend, when he scored twice in the 3-1 win of his team against Junuzovic’s Werder Bremen.
Availability of Sabitzer and Schöpf can refresh the Austrian team which looks pretty predictable starting with trio behind the striker – Arnautovic, Junuzovic, Harnik, and perhaps that was one of the main reasons for their poor performances on French turf.
Final conclusion and Betting Prediction
Ireland can rely to a momentum gained in both previous rounds, but playing against motivated Austria away won’t be the same as their home match against Georgia, nor as visit in Moldova.
Austria must finally show its real face and we expect another good result for “Das Team’ when they face Republic of Ireland. Our stake goes for a home win (1X2 Betting) – Austria will end Ireland’s unbeaten run on Saturday night.
Venue: “Ernst-Happel-Stadion”, Vienna.
Referee: Sergei Karasev from Russia.
Possible starting lineups of Austria and Ireland
Austria: Ramazan Özcan – Markus Suttner, Martin Hinteregger, Aleksandar Dragovic, Florian Klein – David Alaba, Julian Baumgartlinger – Marko Arnautovic, Alessandro Schöpf, Marcel Sabitzer – Marc Janko. (4-2-3-1)
Republic of Ireland: Darren Randolph – Robbie Brady, Ciaran Clark, Shane Duffy, Séamus Coleman – Glenn Whelan, Jeff Hendrick – James McClean, Wes Hoolahan, Jonathan Walters – Kevin Doyle. (4-2-3-1)