Our prediction for this Euro 2024 match:
Austria play host to Azerbaijan at their TGW Arena in the opening match of their EURO 2024 qualifying campaign. The Austrians did well to beat Italy in their last friendly, which is surely giving fans a reason for optimism ahead of Friday’s clash. Fit-again forward Marko Arnautovic will lead the line for the hosts, while Real Madrid ace David Alaba is a major doubt after missing “El Clasico” with injury.
The Azeri, on the other hand, are on a five-game winning run in all competitions, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry in Linz. In their last meeting in a competitive match Austria crushed Azerbaijan 4-1, and we predict that history is going to repeat itself. A man to keep an eye on in the visiting team will be Neftchi midfielder Emin Mahmudov, who has netted 14 goals in the Azerbaijan Premier League so far this season.
Highlighted Player (Marko Arnautovic):
An Austrian footballer born on 19 April 1986, Marko Arnautovic represented a number of Austrian top sides on youth level, but it was at Twente that his professional career began. The winger needed a while to nail down a regular starting berth, but he impressed in his first full season to score 12 Eredivisie goals and earn a lucrative move to Inter Milan.
The unprofessional behaviour seriously cut short his stay at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, but the highly rated footballer was able to kick start his career at Werder Bremen. The successful spell in Bundesliga saw him secure a move to Stoke City, where he has played his best football up to date.
A powerful footballer capable of scoring from distance, Arnautovic is able to operate as a winger, centre forward or attacking midfielder, and he has also impressed playing for the Austria national team. The forward scored 3 goals in the qualifying campaign to help Das Team qualify for the Euro 2016 finals, taking his total goal tally past 10 strikes.
Highlighted Team (Azerbaijan):
Azerbaijan footballers were playing for Soviet Union national team from 1920 to 1991. In 1991 Azerbaijan gained its independence and they have been competing on the international stage ever since. The Azeri have yet to qualify for the finals of a major tournament, but they have been producing fine performances ever since Robert Prosinecki took over the reins.
On September 17, 1992 the Milli suffered a 6-3 loss to Georgia in their first international match and seven years later they recorded their biggest win, with the team beating Liechtenstein 4-0 in front of home fans in Baku. The Azerbaijan national football team wear blue shirts and blue shorts when playing at home ground, while the colour of their away kit is red.
Gurban Gurbanov is the most capped played (68) and the legendary attacker, who played for Azerbaijan from 1992 to 2005), scored 14 goals for the national team. It has to be noted that the former Soviet republic play their home matches at Baku Olympic Stadium, which was opened on March 6, 2015.