Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Ernst Happel Stadion will host Sunday’s Nations League game between Austria and Croatia. Zlatko Dalic’s men did well to beat Denmark 2-1 on Thursday, with the team climbing to top position in Group 1, but they should not stop now. Real Madrid ace Luka Modric should keep his place in the starting XI, while both Mislav Orsic and Nikola Vlasic are pushing for a start.
The Austrians, on the other hand, failed to spoil France’s party at Stade de France, and, as a result, they sit in the ultimate position ahead of the visit of Croatia. Since Marko Arnautovic and Co. are low on spirits ahead of Sunday’s showdown, we are tempted to put our money on Zlatko Dalic’s troops, who aim to seal first place. As always, a man to keep an eye on in the home team will be Real Madrid defender David Alaba, who has 95 caps for the Austria national team.
Highlighted Player (David Alaba):
David Alaba started his youth career at SV Aspern and in 2002 he joined Austria Wien. Bayern Munich chiefs decided to sign him and he was promoted to the reserve team for the 2009/2010 campaign. He made 33 appearances for Bayern Munich II and he has been playing for the first team since 2010. At the age of 17 Alaba made his Champions League debut on 9 March, 2010 against Fiorentina.
The Austrian international is a full back, but he is capable of playing as a left midfielder as well. He represented Austria at the 2016 European Championship finals in France, but das Team failed to impress at the showpiece tournament, suffering elimination in the group stages. David Alaba won his fifth Bundesliga title with Bayern in the 2015/2016 season and he clinched the Champions League trophy with FCB in 2013.
Speaking of his individual honours, he was named Austrian Footballer of the Year in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Alaba was born in Wien on 24 June, 1992.
Highlighted Team (Croatia):
While the national football team of Croatia also played international matches between 1940 and 1944, they only resumed their duties in 1990 after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia. Vatreni enjoyed a remarkable start on the international stage, winning the third place on their first ever World Cup appearance in France in 1998, while crashing out in the group stage at the 2002, 2006 and 2014 tournaments.
Croatia also reached the quarter-finals at the 1996 and 2008 European Championships, proving they are rightly considered one of Europe’s top sides at the start of the 21st century. Long-serving captain Darijo Srna is their most capped player with over 130 appearances for the national team, whereas former Real Madrid striker Davor Suker is one of their most famous players and top scorer with 45 goals.
Other notable footballers to have played for Croatia include Luka Modric, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic. Miroslav Blazevic and Slaven Bilic are the coaches that have been behind team’s biggest success stories up to date.