Ireland vs Austria by Isaiah
Ireland is having a very good start into the new qualifying campaign, as the side have three victories and two draws (away to Serbia and at home against Wales), but they are far away from a favorite to quality - mostly thanks to very evenly drawn group.
They are currently sharing the top position together with Serbia, however with Wales and Austria four points behind them - this means that the Irish side needs to seek for a victory here if they are to keep the high chances for first two position and direct placement to the World Cup. Their last competitive game was a scoreless draw at home against Wales earlier in March, while the side has played three friendlies since then - losing to Iceland and Mexico and taking a victory over Uruguay just a week ago.
Hosts won't be counting at defenders Seamus Coleman (43/1, Everton), Paul McShane (33/0, Reading), Ciaran Clark (24/2, Newcastle), Marc Wilson (25/1, West Bromwhich Albion), midfielders David Meyler (20/0, Hull City), James McCarthy (41/0, Everton), forwards Shane Long (71/17, Southampton) and Kevin Doyle (63/14 Colorado Rapids). Their manager Martin O'Neill could make probably minimal changes to the side that won over Uruguay few days ago.
Austria, on the other side, with just two victories so far can't be nowhere near satisfied regarding this campaign and there is no doubt that the team will need to search for all three points here - everything else would just keep their chances quite minimal in next four remaining rounds.
In the most recent qualifying match, the side won easily over Moldova at home 2:0 late in March, thanks to two goals in the last phase of the game - in 75th minute via Arnautovic and in 90th via Harnik. This victory broke their run of three matches with no win (losses to Serbia and Ireland and a draw against Wales), while they have also played a friendly game against Finland few days later that game against Moldova, having a 1:1 draw in Innsbruck.
Goalkeeper Robert Almer (33/0, Austria Wien) isn't part of the team this time, same as defender Gyorgy Garics (41/2, Darmstadt), midfielders Marcel Sabitzer (27/4, Leipzig), Marko Arnautovic (62/15, Stoke City), Stefan Ilsanker (23/0, Leipzig) and striker Marc Janko (63/28, Basel).
- Austria have scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches (FIFA World Cup).
Neither of the teams will be playing with their best possible eleven, but I see a clear chance for the Austrians here. They did under performed so far in the group, but this game comes as their last chance to keep the hopes for reaching the World Cup and a draw wouldn't surprise me at all, while I wouldn't exclude away victory either, strongly believe the value is with the visitors.