Iceland v Austria, Wednesday June 22
Stade de France, Live on BBC4, 5pm
Group F concludes on Wednesday afternoon when Hungary meet Portugal in Lyon and Iceland play Austria in the Stade de France in Paris (5pm, BBC4). Group F is still wide open with 3 of the 4 teams able to finish in top spot, and Austria still able to qualify automatically in 2nd place.
Iceland – the story so far
Iceland have been something of a surprise package in this their first ever major tournament. As things stand a win against Austria here coupled with a win for Portugal against Hungary could leave them top of the table (dependant on goal difference). A draw would leave them on three points and that would definitely be enough for second place if Hungary beat Portugal, but it would leave them level with Portugal in 2nd if Hungary drew with Portugal and in third place if Portugal beat Hungary. A loss in this one and they will almost certainly be out.
Having picked up a hard fought, and at times fortunate 1-1 draw against Portugal in their opening game, Iceland bounced back and put in an excellent performance against Hungary in their second one. Iceland looked all set for victory after Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first half penalty put them ahead, and they looked all set for victory until the 88th minute when the hapless Birkir Saevarsson diverted the ball into his own net.
Iceland are likely to start with the same XI who started against Hungary, however they will be without the Real Sociedad striker Alfred Finnbogason who is suspended for the final group game having picked up yellow cards in both of Iceland’s previous matches.
Austria – the story so far
For Austria, the equation is far more straightforward. Having bombed in their opening match against Hungary, falling to a 0-2 defeat, and following it up with a draw against Portugal, they know that only a win will do. If they win, and Hungary beat Portugal or Hungary and Portugal draw, then they will finish the group in 2nd place and will play England in the Round of 16. If Portugal beat Hungary and Austria win, they will finish the group in 3rd place, but with 4 points on the board, they look likely to still to qualify as one of the best 3rd placed teams.
Despite being drawn into what appeared a relatively favourable group and arriving at the tournament as many people’s dark horses Austria have disappointed to date. In their first game against Hungary they were widely expected to win the game but ultimately went down to a 0-2 defeat and had defender Aleksandar Dragovic sent off.
Austria followed up the Hungary game with a really tricky tie against group favourites Portugal. During the game Austria successfully frustrated Ronaldo and friends for 80 minutes, but it appeared that the game was up when Portugal were awarded a penalty with ten minutes to go. Thankfully for Austrian hopes, Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty came back off the post and Austria were given a lifeline.
Austria know what they need to need to do in this final game, and that may suit them more so than the uncertainty of the earlier group games. They’re a much better side than they have shown to date in Euro 2016 and my hunch is that this is the game they’ll prove it.
- Austria to win @
- Austria to win both halves @
- 2-0 to Austria – correct score @
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