Our prediction for this match:
Austria and Moldova face each other at Raiffeisen Arena in a David-vs-Goliath clash. The Austrians will use this game as a good test for the EURO 2024 qualifier against Sweden and we are positive that boss Ralf Rangnick is going to mix the squad. New Inter Milan attacker Marko Arnautovic is widely expected to start from the bench, with Karim Onisiwo pushing for a start.
The Moldovans, on the other hand, did well to shock Poland in their last EURO 2024 qualifier, but given their difficulties on the road, anything but a routine home win would be a big surprise. In their last encounter on the international stage Austria crushed Moldova 4-1, which is yet another reason why we are going to bet on the hosts. A man to keep an eye on in the visiting team will be Heerenveen attacker Ion Nicolaescu, who scored a brace in the triumph over Robert Lewandowski and Co.
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 (Moldova):
Seeing that they were a part of Soviet Union until 1991, Moldova played their first game as an independent country on July 2, 1991. The Moldovans were beaten by Georgina in front of home fans in Chisinau, but the following year the team recorded their biggest win on the international stage as they rolled over Pakistan 5-0 in Amman, Jordan.
The former Soviet republic have yet to qualify for the finals of the World Cup or the European Championship, but they recorded a couple of thrilling wins in the past. Moldova crushed Montenegro 5-2 in Podgorica in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, but they eventually failed to book their place at the showpiece tournament in Brazil.
The Moldovans were producing fine showings under Igor Dobrovolskiy in the 2008 European Championship qualifiers as well and it has to be noted that they hammered Hungary 3-0 at Stadionul Zimbru on November 17, 2007. Russian Premier League star Alexandru Gatcan is considered one of the most famous Moldavian footballers.