Our prediction for this World Cup 2018 match:
As expected, Austria kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a win over Georgia. The Austrians failed to impress at the 2016 European Championship finals and they are certainly eager to make amends for the unsuccessful campaign. Das Team face Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales in their first home fixture in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and they will certainly have a bigger fish to fry this time out. The Dragons hammered Moldova 4-0 in their opener and they will be looking to build on the triumph when they take Austria at Ernst-Happel-Stadion on Thursday evening. However, seeing that both teams will be happy with one point from the game, there is every chance we will see a close encounter in Wien. Both Austria and Wales are likely to adopt a cautious approach this time out and we predict that under 2.5 goals will be scored in Thursday’s football match.
Highlighted Player (Veli Kavlak):
Veli Kavlak is an Austrian international midfielder playing for Turkish giants Besiktas since 2011. Kavlak began his professional career at Rapid Wien where he spent seven years before his move to Turkey. A defensive box-to-box midfielder, Veli Kavlak is renowned for his tireless running and endless stamina.
Most often deployed at the holding role, Kavlak is a hardworking leader to his team. During most recent times his career has been plagued by numerous injuries which have prevented him from playing his usual role for the Turkish giants. Former Rapid midfielder has endured a difficult season marked by a recurring shoulder problem which kept him out of action for the most part of the campaign.
Fitness issues continued in the 2016-17 season forcing Kavlak under the knife for the fifth time in two years. His club notoriously decided to freeze Kavlak’s contract, which means that the 29-year-old midfielder is heading into the new Champions League season without his monthly payments.
Highlighted Team (Wales):
Despite being part of the United Kingdom, Wales national football team has been competing in FIFA tournaments since 1950, although they have so far only reached two tournament finals. The Dragons surprised everyone by making it to the quarter-finals at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, but little did they know that it would remain their only World Cup appearance up to date.
Wales had plenty of problems in the European Championship qualifiers as well, but they finally managed to end the barren run by securing their place at the Euro 2016 in France. Led by the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Ashley Williams, the Dragons performed admirably throughout the campaign and even reached the 8th position in the FIFA Rankings in October 2015.
Neville Southall remains the team’s most capped player, but the generation that included Ryan Giggs, Gary Speed, Craig Bellamy and John Hartson will also be remembered for some impressive performances against top European national teams.