Austria epitomize the word ‘dark horses’ and with the players at their disposal, they are sure to cause a huge storm in this European Championships. Christian Fuchs, David Alaba and Marko Arnautovic help them cover almost all bases and if the others can play around these three and gel as a team, we could very well witness the Austrians making a grand surge for the trophy in France.
But before fantasizing too much about their future progress in the tournament, they need to get down to grinding results out as all teams in their group can prove to be very stingy in defence and very creative in attack.
While Austria are coming off an almost perfect qualifying campaign, winning 9 and drawing 1 of their 10 games, their opponents for today, Hungary, had a challenging qualifying campaign, needing a playoff victory against Norway to make it to the finals in France.
On paper, the Austrians have a mighty advantage over the Hungarians but the abscence of Marc Janko, who was the highest scorer for Austria in the qualifying campaign, could provide a little sniff to Hungary in this fixture.
There is a lot to celebrate and look forward to for Hungary in this European Championship as they are playing their first since 1972 and the fact that their goalkeeper, Gabor Kiraly, is all setto become the oldest player to have ever played in the European Championships(40 years and 75 days).
Hungary need to stay compact in defence and then go out and try and string something together on the counter attack; that is their only chance of salvaging anything out of this fixture.
For the Austrains, David Alaba will be holding all the cards. If he can replicate his club form at the international stage, qualifying from this group would be a mere formality and the Austrians would then be able to dream big!
Head to Head
This fixture is famously referred to as the Habsburg derby, getting its name from the Habsburg empire that these two nations were a part of.
These two sides have met 137 times, with Hungary winning 66 of those games.
In their most recent encounter (August 2006) as well, Hungary won 2-1.
Predicted Austrian XI– Almer; Klein, Dragovic, Hinterreger, Fuchs; Alaba, Baumgartlinger; Harnik, Junuzovic, Arnautovic; Janko(doubtful)
Predicted Hungary XI– Kiraly; Kadar, Lang, Guzmics, Fiola; Nagy, Gera; Dzsudzsak, Kleinheisler, Nemeth; Szalai
Austria to win it 2-0