Northern Ireland v Austria Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
November 16, 2018
Windsor Park - UEFA Nations League
Northern Ireland face Austria on Sunday in Belfast, with their opponents' recent goalless draw relegating Martin O'Neills side from Group B3. The Austrians also have little to play for, with the outcome of the group already decide, making Sunday's game a change for squad experimentation.
Austria came out on top when the sides last clashed, with a goal from West Ham's Marko Arnautovic enough to seal Ireland's defeat.
Martin O'Neill may be tempted to rotate his squad, given their failure to avoid relegation, and will have to replace Oliver Norwood in central midfield.
Franco Foda will be without Florian Kainz, after the midfielder suffered an injury against Bosnia and Herzegovina, meaning Austria will also have an enforced change in midfield.
Northern Ireland v Austria Preview and Predictions
Unfortunately for a competition that was designed to liven up mid-season international football, Sunday's fixture is a dead rubber with Ireland already relegated and Austria seven points off catching Bosnia and Herzgovina. However, this does not guarantee a poor fixture, with Irish fans interested to witness how their team plays without any pressure.
O'Neill's side have won just two of their last two games, both of which were at home, and yet it comes as little surprise given the level that Ireland are playing at. The fact that they were even drawn with Austria, who can boast the talents of Arnautovic and Bayern Munich's David Alaba, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, led by the likes of Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko, must be considered a success for the manager.
For Foda, on the other hand, the campaign represents a wasted opportunity, and Austria will be disappointed to have won just one game out of the available three. Following a shambolic World Cup qualifying campaign, in which they finished below both Republic of Ireland and Wales, much was made of the new manager's appointment, yet the former defender has failed to change the nation's fortunes.
With a loss to Denmark in their last game, Austria need a comprehensive win over Northern Ireland to recover some pride, and potentially to save Foda's job. However, O'Neill also has a point to prove, and his side will be out for blood at Windsor Park on Sunday.
Arnautovic to score anytime at 9/5
The forward has recently declared his ambition to move to a top club, and he will have to score on the big stage to prove his worth.
Both teams to score at 5/6
With nothing to play for but pride and reputation, expect both sides to focus on attacking play.