Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Austria will be looking to make amends for a 1-0 loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina when they host Northern Ireland at their Ernst-Happel-Stadion. Das Team aim to record their first ever win in the UEFA Nations League and we predict that they are going to fight tooth and nail in Friday’s football match. Marko Arnautovic, who has been producing fine performances with West Ham United at the start of the new Premier League campaign, is likely to pose a big threat for the opposition defenders. Northern Ireland, on the other hand, suffered a 2-1 loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina I their opener, meaning that they are desperate to grab something from Friday’s clash as well. The Green and White Army proved their worth in a 3-0 win over Israel in last month’s friendly, but they will have a much bigger fish to fry against Austria.
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 (Northern Ireland):
Competing first under the Irish flag and then as an independent entity, Northern Ireland are one of world’s oldest national teams, but they haven’t enjoyed too much success in history. Led by Danny Blanchflower, the Irish impressed at their first ever World Cup finals appearance, reaching the quarter-finals in 1958, but they have since only played at the 1982 and 1986 tournaments, reaching round 2 and crashing out in the group stage respectively.
Northern Ireland had failed to qualify for 13 successive European Championship finals before finally booking their ticket to the Euro 2016 in France, and the fans hope this success will only be a sign of things to come. Without a doubt, George Best is the most famous footballer to have ever put on the green shirt, scoring 9 goals in 37 appearances, but he couldn’t help the national team close the gap behind Europe’s top sides.
Some of the other high-profile footballers include Pat Jennings, Aaron Hughes, David Healy, Keith Gillespie, Steven Davies and Gareth McAuley.