Soccer UEFA Euro Qualification - Group Stage
Austria vs Sweden - Match Preview
⚽ 20 June 2023 - 18:45 GMT +0
Austria (FIFA rank: #32) drew 1-1 with Belgium on Saturday to make it five games unbeaten (W4, D1) and they now top Group F of 2024 European Championship qualifying (ECQ) going into this round of fixtures. They were good value for their point in Brussels as it took a Romelu Lukaku stunner to peg them back and they will now look to consolidate their position when they welcome Sweden (FIFA rank: #22) to Vienna’s Ernst Happel Stadion.
They’ve won each of their last six home ECQ games, accumulating an average of exactly three goals per game, and will hope for another strong result as Ralf Rangnick’s side remain unbeaten across the last three H2Hs they’ve hosted (W2, D1). That draw was recorded in an ECQ fixture almost ten years ago and a repeat would be enough to maintain Austria’s position atop the standings.
Sweden prepared for this fixture by hammering New Zealand (4-1) in a friendly in which they recovered from conceding within the opening ten minutes. Starting slowly has been a common theme of late as they haven’t scored before the 35th minute in any of their last eight matches, but it hasn’t held them back too much in terms of final results (W6, D1, L1).
As they now look ahead to their first away game of this qualification cycle after a win and a loss at home, Sweden really needs to avoid losing in what looks likely to be a tough three-way battle for the two qualification spots on offer. A draw seems unlikely, at least based on their recent 14-game record on foreign soil (W7, L7), and that form isn’t likely to strike fear in the hearts of Austrian supporters, but it’s worth noting that the visitors won each of their last three ECQ away fixtures ‘to nil’, albeit back in late 2019.
📋 Players to watch: Michael Gregoritsch netted Austria’s second goal in two of their last three games and it was his shot that deflected in against Belgium. Meanwhile, Anthony Elanga could pose a late threat for Sweden after scoring after the 85th minute in each of their last two internationals.
⚡ Hot streak: Each of Sweden’s last six games witnessed goals in both halves (W5, L1).
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