Iceland and Austria face-off against each other in the final Euro 2016 Group F match at the Stade de France in Paris, which serve as a knock-out clash for the place in the next round.
Iceland had drawn each of their two group games so far and with 2 points placed second in the group above Portugal by the virtue of a superior goal difference. Despite their limited stature, Iceland had performed admirably well in the two games especially on the back of a strong defense. They looked dangerous on counter attacks and set piece situations and could make life hard for Austria on Wednesday evening.
Austria were surprisingly defeated by Hungary 2-0 in the group opened and were lucky to come out with a point in the draw against Portugal. They are yet to score a goal in this tournament so far and managed just 4 shots on target so far. Their head-coach Marcel Koller has plenty of headaches ahead of this must win tie as his players’ performances have been below par. Austria are staring at a similar fate they suffered when they co-hosted the tournament in 2008, where they got eliminated in the group stages after failing to win a single match.
The winner of this final Group F clash between Iceland and Austria will secure the qualification to the knockouts of Euro 2016, as at least as one of the best third placed team. A draw will eliminate Austria and Iceland may finish third, depending on the result of Portugal vs Hungary and three draws from three matches means their chances to progress to the next round are slim.
Iceland: Predicted line-up (4-4-2):
Halldorsson – Saevarsson, Arnason, R.Sigurdsson, Skulason – Gudmundsson, Bjarnasson, G. Sigurdsson, Bjarnason – Sigthorsson, Bodvarsson.
Austria Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1):
Almer – Fuchs, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Klein – Baumgartlinger, Ilsanker – Sabitzer, Alaba, Arnautovic – Harnik.
Iceland vs Austria: Head-to-Head Stats
Austria are undefeated against Iceland in three games played between the sides so far, with 1 win and 2 draws.
They played out a 1-1 draw in their last meeting at an international friendly in May 2014 in Innsbruck.
The previous two meetings were during the 1990 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, almost 27 years ago. Austria were held to a 0-0 draw at Reykjavik in the first leg, but they won 2-1 in the return leg at Salzburg.
Iceland vs Austria: Prediction
Austria are one of the teams that qualified to the Euros unbeaten alongside England, Italy and Romania. But since then, the tides have turned as they managed just 2 wins from the 7 matches to date. However the wins have come against lowly teams like Albania and Malta, which suggests they are going to struggle against organized teams. Austria haven’t scored a goal in their last three games and conceded in 5 of their last 6.
Iceland’s form coming into the tournament was nothing to brag about as they lost in 6 of the 9 friendlies. Somehow, they are a totally different team since the tournament started and looking at the first two games they have a solid and well organized defense. And this is what you can expect from them here, they will draw the Austrians forwards and look to take their chances by launching quick counter attacks.
This match is virtually a knock-out clash which decides who advance to the round of 16 and for me there is little to choose between the two teams. Austria have abundance of talent in their squad, but they had so far failed to play together as a team, while Iceland is exactly the opposite.
I can see another draw as outcome of this fixture, and I will take the risk of favouring Iceland for a double chance for this Group F fixture.
Under 2.5 Goals.
Double Chance: Iceland/Draw.
First Half: Under 1.5 goals.