Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Windsor Park in Belfast will host the Nations League game between Northern Ireland and Austria. The Green and White Army did well to hold Romania to a draw in their opener, but the team experienced all sorts of problems at the back in a 5-1 loss to Norway. Northern Ireland conceded 12 goals in total in the previous three games in all competitions, and it is no wonder they are seen as underdogs in Sunday’s clash.
The Austrians, on the other hand, have been impressive in front of goal at the start of the process, and they are surely capable of beating the Green and White Army behind closed doors. You should bear in mind that Austria are eyeing their fourth consecutive win over Northern Ireland in all competitions. Even though Marco Arnautovic is out of contention for the visitors, we are tempted to put our money on Franco Foda’s men.
Highlighted Player (Will Grigg):
Wighan Athletic striker Will Grigg became a viral sensation during the European Championship in France but the chances are any avid football fan will have been well aware of his goalscoring exploits even before 2016. The 27-year-old forward began his career at Stratford Town but it was in Walsall that the world took notice of his presence after 27 goals in 99 performances for the club.
He first came to prominence during the 2012/13 season when he was voted the club’s Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season, but a loan spell at Milton Keynes Dons during his rather unfortunate two-year spell over at Brentford proved crucial for his career.
The total of 20 goals in 44 appearances at Stadium MK was where Wigan Athletic noticed the Northern Ireland man and moved in to sign him on a three year contract for a £1 million fee in 2015. ‘Will Grigg’s on Fire’ was the hit song of the Euro 2016 even though the Northern Ireland striker ended up not getting a chance to make a bow in the tournament.
Highlighted Team (Austria):
Austria is one of Europe’s oldest national football teams and they enjoyed plenty of success during the 1930’s, earning the nickname Wunderteam in the process. Das Team achieved a fourth-place finish at the second World Cup in 1934, before finishing in third place at the 1954 finals. However, Austria have since participated at another five World Cup finals, never getting past the first knockout stage.
Das Team were even more disappointing in the European Championship qualifying campaigns, failing to qualify for 12 straight tournaments before appearing at the 2008 finals as co-hosts. However, Austria made it to the Euro 2016 in style, winning nine of ten qualifiers to suggest the team may be on the path to return to old glory days.
Former Bayern Munich midfielder Andreas Herzog is the team’s most capped footballer with 103 appearances, whereas Toni Polster is the most prolific striker with 44 goals in 95 outings. Matthias Sinderlar, Ernst Ocwirk, Herbert Prohaska and Hans Krankl are some of the most notable players to have represented Austria over the years.