Saturday, November 25, 2017

Prediction: Republic of Ireland vs Austria

Ashley Randall in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 10 Jun 2017

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Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: Bet 365

The Republic of Ireland host Austria in a 2018 World Cup Qualifier on Sunday evening at the Aviva Stadium. Both sides will recognise the importance of the clash that will have a huge say in who qualifies for the tournament in Russia.

Republic of Ireland

Martin O’Neill’s men have made a solid start to Group D, albeit without actually playing to their full potential for much of the campaign. Three wins and two draws mean they sit prettily in on 11 points, only second to Serbia due to goal difference. However, a laboured 1-0 victory versus Georgia and an uninspiring 0-0 draw against Wales means there is still work to be done. The Republic of Ireland’s main competition for the top two places comes from their Welsh rivals and their opponents on Sunday, Austria, who have both accumulated seven points in the group so far and Ireland will want to further the gap. It was testament to the character of O’Neill’s team in the way they bounced back from a disappointing 3-1 defeat in Mexico to beat Uruguay so comfortably by the same scoreline in their own back yard. At home, the Boys in Green have proved very difficult to beat which is evident in the fact they have only lost two times at the Aviva Stadium in three years. A victory against Austria on Sunday will be a huge step towards World Cup qualification and it’s hard seeing them doing anything else otherwise.

Team News

Jonathan Walters will face a late fitness test after a knee problem picked up in training this week.

If the striker misses out it will leave Ireland short up front, with David McGoldrick and Shane Long already unavailable.

Austria

Manager Marcel Koller will be fully aware that his side must win this game against Ireland to stand any chance of qualifying for the World Cup next summer. Austria are currently four points behind their rivals in second place and a loss will be near impossible to recover from with four matches left. They will try to find confidence from their 2-0 win against Moldova last time out but will find it difficult with the loss of forward Marko Arnautovic and midfielder Marcel Sabitzer who miss out due to suspension and injury respectively. The pressure will be on David Alaba’s shoulders to replace the Stoke player’s influential ability but his problem in cementing a position of his own has distracted him from playing to his full potential. Having made left-back his own at Bayern Munich, Koller believes that Alaba’s future lies in central midfield, much to the annoyance of Austrian fans. Unfortunately, this problem, coupled with reports of unrest within players in the squad point to a difficult night ahead for Austria in a match that will be decisive in whether they make the plane to Russia next summer.

Team News

Injuries to Marko Arnautovic, Marcel Sabitzer and captain Marc Janko means that Austria are without the players involved in seven of their last nine goals.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Martin O’Neill is yet to lose a home qualifying match as manager of Ireland (W5 D3)
  • The Boys in Green haven’t conceded a goal in their last five qualifiers at the Aviva Stadium
  • Ireland’s 1-0 win over Austria in November was their first away victory against them
  • Only Cristiano Ronaldo (38) and Josip Ilicic (26) have had more shots than James McClean (24) in the campaign
  • David Alaba has created more chances than any other Austrian player so far (15)

Conclusion

This is a big game for both sides, but with Ireland being at home and Austria having injury concerns to their key players, we think the Boys in Green will get the victory today. If they can play anywhere near to the same standard as when they beat Uruguay then they have a good chance.

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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