Austria – No pushovers

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar September 2, 2017 15:21

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Austria – No pushovers

By Satish Sekar at Cardiff City Stadium © Satish Sekar (September 1st 2017)

Absences

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Austria, like Wales, will be missing key players for the vital clash in Group D tomorrow night. Talented winger Zlatko Junozović and striker Guido Burgstaller head those missing. However, Austria’s captain and Bayer Leverkusen defensive midfielder, Julian Baumgartlinger was upbeat despite the precarious situation both sides find themselves in.

“It’s going to be a very physical game, similar to what it was in Dublin,” Baumgartlinger told reporters. “It will 90 minutes of all-out football. We are both in a situation where we are chasing other teams, but whoever wins has it in their own hands and the other team doesn’t”.

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Confident

Both teams trail the Republic of Ireland and Serbia by four points – they still have to play each other – but neither manager, Chris Colemen and Marcel Koller, nor captains, Ashley Williams and Baumgartlinger, would say if that was an advantage or disadvantage for tomorrow’s clash.

Nevertheless, Coleman was confident that Wales could still qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year.

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“We can do it [win the last four games] and that’s no disrespect to Austria, Moldova, Georgia and the Republic of Ireland,” Wales’ manager said. “It could be Brazil, Spain and Germany. I have that much confidence in our players and in our team, especially here in this stadium when it’s full. If we get it right then there’s nobody we need to fear. That’s a definite”.

Koller seemed more circumspect. “Maybe it’s an advantage for the other teams playing earlier,” Koller said in response to my question about whether it was an advantage or disadvantage that the leaders in the group still had to play each other. “So if the situation requires we will just really have to go for it. Both teams need to win. My colleague from Wales knows that as well. It depends on the other games of Ireland and Serbia what happens, but it will be very difficult for the team that loses here to qualify”.

Optimism and Strategy

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Nevertheless, he still believes in his team and their ability to reach the World Cup Finals after a twenty year absence. “We can still qualify for the World Cup and everything is still possible, so I am just concentrated on this game and focused on winning it”, he said before outlining what was needed.

“We’ve spent time watching videos of Wales and I’m going to have a few individual chats with some players about situations that could happen in the game” This referred to threat of Gareth Bale, returning from suspension and set-pieces, including long throws.

“We’ve looked at that,” Koller said. “Obviously we have a defensive concept to cope, but the best thing is to avoid set-pieces happening from the start”.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar September 2, 2017 15:21