Our match prediction:
One of the major underdogs in Group D of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers Georgia head into the new campaign hoping that they could pull a surprise and qualify to the world championship for the first time in their history. Vladimir Weiss’s men will be hoping to use the momentum after their overwhelming friendly 1-0 victory over Spain to spark a change in pace and start a new chapter after six consecutive defeats in all competitions. It will be easier said than done against the quality Austrian side though. Packed with talented players in all departments such as David Alaba, Marko Arnautovic and Christian Fuchs, the Burschen will be keen to make amends for their hugely disappointing Euro 2016 campaign which saw them leave France as the last-placed team in Group F behind Hungary, Iceland and subsequent European champions Portugal. Marcel Koller’s team is motivated to get back on track and we predict a morale boosting win away at the Boris Piachadze Dinamo Arena.
Highligted Player (Levan Mchedlidze):
Levan Mchedlidze is a Georgian international who plays for Empoli as a forward. Mchedlidze played for Dila Gori in the 2005/2006 season and in 2007 he moved to Italy. The Georgian attacker signed a contract with Empoli in July, 2007 and he has been playing for the Azzurri ever since. However, it has to be noted that he was sent on loan to Palermo on 30 August, 2008, playing 11 league games for the Rosanero. Mchedlidze has only three caps for Georgia U21, but he played five games for the senior team in Euro 2016 qualifiers. On 3 June, 2016, he made his 27 appearance for Georgia, in a 5-1 loss to Romania in a friendly match. The Empoli striker scored his first ever goal for the Georgian national team in a 2-0 win over Scotland on 17 October, 2007. Mchedlidze open the scoring after 16 minutes, but he was replaced by Kvakhadze in the second half of the match.
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.