One of the dark horses for Euro 2016 will be in action when Austria look to start on a high against rank outsiders Hungary on Tuesday, June 14. This Group F encounter will be played at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux stadium.
Austria have been one of the form teams in qualification surprising everyone with their unbeaten run. Dropping just two points over that entire period speaks so high of the quality of this side. Finishing eight points ahead of their nearest competitors in a group which had Russia and Sweden isn’t something that can be achieved without talent.
Their success was built around a strong defensive display that saw them concede just five times during the qualification. Devoid of super stars but not lacking in players of top quality, this side should be top of the dark horses list for Euros. If you are a neutral supporter, then Austria must be one of those sides you can expect to go deep in France.
Of immediate concern, though, is their performance in the friendlies. Over the last five matches their full potential wasn’t on show although one possible explanation could be that the blip came only in non-competitive matches.
Hungary’s progress to the Euros is a sharp contrast to that of Austria. They finished third in a relatively easier group behind Northern Ireland and Romania. This helped them to qualify for play-offs and a 3-1 aggregate win over Norway helped them find a place in the final 24 for the Euros.
With all due regards to the Hungarians, they have all the ingredients to be one of the bottom placed teams in France. Stacked with Portugal, Austria and Iceland, Hungary may find it difficult to avoid the wooden spoon in this group.
Giving wind to this theory is the poor run that Hungary had in the friendlies preceding the Euros. Their lack of quality was evident in the struggle they had in creating chances as well as converting them.
Austria won their last five qualifying matches to reach France at the top of their form. Their struggles ever since in the friendlies puts a question mark on their credentials but competitive football generally brings the best out of them. Three losses in the friendlies blots their otherwise perfect record in the last ten encounters.
Hungary didn’t win any of their friendlies in the build-up to the tournament. Even otherwise, their record of just four wins out of the last ten encounters doesn’t make a confident reading. Their apparent concerns in creating chances are well documented as was evident in their 2-0 loss to Germany.
Key players and team news
David Alaba is a key player at the back for Bayern Munich but it is in the midfield that he masters his national team. Marko Arnautovic provides an exciting attacking outlet for them with the Stoke forward well known for his strong runs and physical presence. Watch out for Marc Zanko who could benefit playing in an advanced role just ahead of Alaba. And who can forget the Premier League winning defender Christian Fuchs!
The Hungarian midfield doesn’t boast of the same incisiveness or pace of the Austrians but watch out for their star player Balazs Dzsudzsak. Adam Nagy could help them play some free-flowing football.
Nine wins in the ten qualifying matches should be what the Austrians be looking at rather than the three losses in five matches in the build-up. In seven of their last eight games they have scored at least two goals – a fair indication of their attacking mindset. They had one of the best defensive records in the qualification too, conceding just five goals through the campaign.
Hungary don’t look like a high scoring team and have failed to score in two of their last three matches and scoring just once in the process. They struggle to score goals which makes a bet on under 2.5 goals an attractive option.
Austria have won two, drawn two and lost two of their last six matches against Hungary but the last of those matches was almost ten years back. Don’t read too much into the friendlies’ form of Austria who have won nine of their last 10 competitive matches. They could be frustrated a little but expect Austria to come out with a win.
Under 2.5 goals in the game at odds of 1.62 with Betfred