The Austrians have the quality needed.
Last updated: March 23, 2016 by Leon Marshal
Austria finished top of their qualifying group, winning 9 of their 10 matches. After finishing with a draw against Sweden in the first match of the qualifying campaign, the Austrians won 9 consecutive games and gave their opponents no chances. This will be the second participation for Austria in the European Championships. The first one was 8 years ago, when they were co-hosts and were eliminated at the group stage.
Now, Marcel Koller’s players look very strong as a team. In addition, they have gained the needed confidence before the start of The Euro 2016 in France. Austria have lost only 2 of their last 19 competitive matches, so they have proved they are one of the strongest teams in Europe.
The biggest success in Austrian football was winning the bronze medal in The FIFA World Cup of 1954 in Switzerland. The Austrians now look like they have a really good team and they are capable of doing something special this summer. The match against Albania will be a great training session for them, because the Albanians are a very good team, which surprised everyone when they qualified for Euro 2016.
Can you believe Albania have only scored 1 goal in the Austria’s net? There have been 6 matches between these two teams and all the games have been won by Austria! They have scored 17 goals in total. There are two victories for Austria with the correct score of 5-0. However, the last meeting between these two teams was 29 years ago and finished with a 1-0 win for the Austrians.
On the other hand, the Albanians have recently recorded some outstanding results. They beat teams like Portugal and France. In addition, Albania lost only twice in their qualifying group, leaving Denmark two points behind them. So, The Euro 2016 will be the first major tournament in Albania’s football history. And there are lots of reasons why they should be optimistic. The Albanians have kept a clean sheet in 4 of their 8 qualifying matches. They also lost only 3 of their last 10 competitive games. Their task at Euro 2016 won’t be an easy one, but they can surely win some points while being the underdogs against Switzerland, Romania and the host nation France. The Albanians have shown they are really strong in defence, so for me personally it won’t be a surprise if they reach the 1/8 finals of the tournament.
The expectations for the match between Austria and Albania are that the Albanians won’t score a goal, but the Austrians will also have difficulties in attack. So, the most obverse prediction for the game is; ‘under 2,5 goals’.
Marco Arnautovic is the biggest danger for the opponent’s defence. The striker has scored 10 goals in The Premier League this season. He has found the net on 3 occasions in the qualifiers. Arnautovic is physically strong and it’s very difficult for a defender to keep him quiet.
The most experienced player in Albania’s squad is ex-PSG defender Lorik Cana. At the age of 32, he has won 89 caps for his country and has scored 1 goal. Cana has a great influence over his teammates, he is the main reason Albania look so strong in defence. It will be interesting to see whether or not he can keep Arnautovic quiet.
|Goalkeepers:||Robert Almer (Austria Wien), Heinz Lindner (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ramazan Ozcan (Ingolstadt).|
|Defenders:||Aleksandar Dragovic (Dynamo Kiev), Christian Fuchs (Leicester City), György Garics (Darmstadt), Martin Hinteregger (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Florian Klein (Stuttgart), Sebastian Prödl (Watford), Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham).|
|Midfielders:||David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Julian Baumgrtlinger (Mainz), Stefan Ilsanker (RB Leipzig), Jakob Jantscher (Luzern), Zlatko Junuovic (Werder Bremen), Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig), Alessandro Schöpf (Schalke).|
|Forwards:||Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City), Martin Harnik (Stuttgart), Lukas Hinterseer (Ingolstadt), Marc Janko (Basel), Rubin Okotie (1860 Munich).|
|Head coach:||Marcel Koller|
|Goalkeepers:||Etrit Berisha, Alban Hoxha, Orges Shehi.|
|Defenders:||Naser Aliji, Arlind Ajeti, Berat Dijmsiti, Mergim Mavraj, Lorik Cana, Elseid Hysaj, Ansi Agolli, Frederik Veseli.|
|Midfielders:||Migjen Basha, Ergys Kace, Ledian Memushaj, Odise Roshi, Herolind Shala, Ermir Lenjani, Taulant Xhaka, Burim Kukeli, Amir Abrashi, Andi Lila.|
|Forwards:||Bekim Balaj, Sokol Cikalleshi, Armando Sadiku, Shkelzen Gashi, Milot Rashica.|
|Head coach:||Giovanni De Biasi|
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|29/04/87||ECQ||Albania 0-1 Austria||T. Polster 10′|
|15/10/86||ECQ||Austria 3-0 Albania||A. Ogris 18′|
|08/06/83||ECQ||Albania 1-2 Austria||W. Schachner 5′|
|22/09/82||ECQ||Austria 5-0 Albania||M. Hagmayr 24′|
|06/12/80||WQE||Albania 0-1 Austria||—|