World Cup qualifiers. Key European Fixtures: Republic of Ireland v Austria preview
Republic of Ireland have battled to a scoreless draw in Sweden, the result which could prove crucial for their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, should they retain their impressive form and hummer resilient Austria.
Recent Austria form:
Austria put six goals past Faroe Islands in Vienna last Friday to record their biggest win in 14 years and rise to a third spot in Group C. They are one point behind second-placed Sweden and level on points with fourth-placed Republic of Ireland outstripping them on goals difference.
However Austria boss Marcel Koller is aware of the threat pose by Giovanni Trapattoni’s men. He said: Ireland are a different standard than the Faroe Islands. Every player must be aware that it will be harder. We were a little bit too loose at times and did not keep our organisation as I would have liked. And if we slack off against strong teams like the Irish, they will strike. If they see an opportunity, they will bite. We will pick a team so that we can win. We want to win. But if a draw looks likely, we will take a point.”
Republic of Ireland recent form:
Ireland have a good chance of leapfrogging second-placed Sweden, should they retain their impressive form and outplay potentially overconfident Austria.
Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni revealed he is confident his side can progress to the 2014 World Cup after the draw in Sweden. He said: “We must win – it is the only option. After Friday’s performance and result, we can go into that game with more confidence than we have had in recent games. We’ve rebuilt the team, remember. Nine of the men who started on Friday did not start in the Euros. Four of them – Marc Wilson, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy and Ciaran Clark – weren’t even in the squad. So we are coming again. In the past I got Ireland to the 2010 World Cup play-offs and then to the Euro finals. We can achieve this again.”
Austria team news:
Philipp Hosiner is likely to retain his first-team place, after scoring two goals against Faroe Islands.
Austria captain Marc Janko remains a major doubt for the game against Ireland, after missing out on the previous clash due to abductor injury.
21-year-old forward Andreas Weimann, who has managed to impress off the bench on Friday, could be given a chance of a first-team start.
Both Martin Harnik and Julian Baumgartlinger could also feature in the first XI, after recovering from health problems.
Republic of Ireland team news:
Captain Robbie Keane is expected to be Ireland’s most notable absence, as he limped off during the clash against Sweden with a calf injury. Wolves hitman Kevin Doyle has been called up by Trap to replace the experienced striker.
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