Iceland have been impressed in their first two games but Jake Jackman thinks that Austria are ready to perform.
Wednesday 22nd June 2016 – 17:00 BST
EURO 2016 – GROUP F
ICELAND v AUSTRIA
Austria are a side I tipped to win Group F and have been proven wrong, but they have hugely underperformed at this tournament so far. They were excellent during qualifying and have yet to show that same form in France. Iceland have continued to impress many, picking up a couple of draws in the opening matches. They would have been disappointed after the last minute equaliser from Hungary, but still have a great chance of achieving qualification. A draw could even be enough in this match. Austria need to go for the win and as a result, this could be quite an open match, with Iceland having the players to cause problems on the counter-attack.
The Austrians will know that a win will be good enough to take them through to the next round and with players like Marko Arnautovic and David Alaba, they certainly have the talent to get the three points. They defended well against Portugal, with Julian Baumgartlinger being the standout player. At the other end, they didn’t create a lot, but will be more confident of breaking down Iceland on Wednesday. It will be interesting if Marc Janko is brought back into the side, as he would provide a more obvious focal point that was lacking in the last match.
For Iceland, they need to deploy Gylfi Sigurdsson in a more attacking role, as he hasn’t been at his best at this tournament. Iceland have a number of hard working players defensively and need a more creative player in the final third. They have struggled to make too many clear cut chances in the opening two matches. A defensive mistake and a penalty were responsible for their two goals, and if they are to beat Austria, they will need to be much better in the attacking half.
I expect this to be an open match, with both sides having a number of opportunities to score. Austria will need to win this match, and in doing so will need to commit players forward. Iceland’s needs are less pressing, as a draw will most likely be enough to get them through as one of the best third place sides. However, they will look to pick off Austria on the break and have a great opportunity to progress as one of the top two sides in the group. I think both sides will score, given the situation in the group.
I have backed Austria heavily throughout this tournament and I will stick to my guns in this match. I feel we have only seen a fraction of what they are capable of and they will be playing a more expansive style in this match. Iceland have been impressive at the back, but I thought they should have done better against Hungary and the high pressure nature of the match could have an effect on some of the less experienced players.
TIP: Austria to win (2.15 at Bet365)
TIP: Both Teams to Score (2.25 at BetVictor)