Mark O’Haire’s Euro Tips – Iceland v Austria
Iceland v Austria
Iceland stand on the brink of history following their 1-1 draw with Hungary in Group F on Saturday evening.
Iceland v Austria, Wednesday 22nd June 2016, 17.00, BBC & RTE2
The smallest country competing at Euro 2016 remain unbeaten and, in a fiercely competitive qualifying section, they go into their final fixture against Austria knowing that a point will be enough to secure a top three finish in the section, but only victory will guarantee them a place in the knockout stages of their maiden major tournament.
Iceland came agonisingly close to claiming three points from their match against Bernd Storck’s side as Gylfi Sigurdsson’s penalty was cancelled out by Birkir Saevarsson’s late own goal.
Austria, though, will provide stiff opposition, for Marcel Koller’s men were hugely impressive in reaching this tournament, winning nine and drawing one of their 10 qualification matches on the path to Paris.
Koller’s charges suffered first-night nerves as they were beaten by Hungary in their opening match, but their resolute defending in the goalless draw with Portugal on Saturday night suggests that Das Team are ready to fight for their place in the last 16 of the competition.
However, with just one point from their opening two matches, Austria know that a win is required if they are to stand any realistic chance of reaching the knockout stages and, If that objective is to be achieved, Koller’s men will need to be far more adventurous in their meeting with Iceland at Stade de France.
Austria will be determined to end their 26-year wait for a win at a major tournament and although Koller’s men have yet to find the net in France this summer, they will fancy their chances of doing so in this match, for Iceland have kept just two clean sheets in their last 13 matches.
Clean Sheet Heroes
In contrast, Das Team kept a clean sheet in six of their final eight qualifying fixtures for this tournament and, having shut out Portugal on Saturday night, Koller’s men will fancy their chances of chalking up another clean sheet against Iceland.
It is fair to suggest that Austria rode their luck against Portugal, though, with Cristiano Ronaldo having a goal disallowed, while Fernando Santos’ side struck the woodwork twice – once through Nani in the first half – before Ronaldo planted a late penalty kick against the post.
Get On The Goals
Iceland, too, will feel that they are capable of getting amongst the goals, having found the net in each of their last 11 matches whilst co-managers Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson will take comfort from the fact that their side has slipped to just one defeat in their last five fixtures.
There have been goals scored at both ends in nine of Iceland’s last 11 matches and the Even money quote for that trend to continue looks to represent outstanding value for punters.
Neither side can afford to settle for a solitary point from this fixture; as such, this match has plenty of potential to be an open and entertaining clash with both teams going for goals.
The 13/10 quote for more than two goals to be scored when these two teams lock horns may well prove to be a popular selection with punters, although it is worth noting that the selection would have failed to land in the previous two matches played by both nations in this tournament so far.
Therefore, the value lies in backing both teams to get amongst the goals and, thus, it is the generous Even money quote for both teams to score that is the recommended play for punters ahead of Wednesday’s vital Group F fixture at Saint-Denis.
Both Teams To Score (Evens)
*Prices correct at time of publication