By Ian S Palmer
Austria can clinch a spot in the 2016 European Championships in France next summer if results go the right way for them in their Group G showdown with Sweden on Tuesday, September 8. The top two teams will meet at Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden with the visitors leading the group and the host’s seven points behind them. Third-place Russia and fourth-place Montenegro are still in the running for a top-three finish as well. Sweden is coming off a 1-0 loss in Russia on Saturday while Austria downed Moldova 1-0 at home. Austria will qualify automatically as a top-two team if they win or draw in Sweden.
Sweden vs Austria Euro 2016 Qualifier Soccer Betting Preview
- bet365 lists Sweden as the current favorites at 6/5 with Austria 11/5 and a draw at 12/5
HEAD TO HEAD:
- The two nations played to a 1-1 draw in their first meeting in Austria. Sweden’s Erkan Zengin tied the game after David Alaba had put Austria out in front via a penalty kick. The sides have met 34 times overall in the past with Austria winning 16, losing 12 and drawing the other six. They’ve won five, lost nine and drawn one while playing in Sweden. While 21 games have been friendlies, they’ve met 13 times in competitive matches with Austria winning six, losing five and drawing a pair. They’ve won just once in Sweden and have lost the other four. All games have been close with Austria winning every game but one by a single goal.
Several players need to be careful in this encounter since they’re all just one yellow card away from a one-match ban. These are Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimović, Albin Ekdal and Pontus Wernbloom along with Julian Baumgartlinger, Florian Klein, Aleksandar Dragovic and Sebastian Prödl of Austria. Sweden enter the game on a 14-match unbeaten run in European Championship qualifiers at home with 11 victories and three defeats. Their last home loss came back in October of 2003 when Latvia edged them 1-0. Austria has won four straight competitive road fixtures since losing to Sweden in 2013 in a World Cup qualifier. They’ve won all three Group G contests in this campaign.
Austria sits on top of Group G with 19 points as they’re unbeaten with half a dozen wins and a draw. They’ve found the back of the net 12 times and have allowed two goals against. Sweden occupies the current runners-up position with 12 points on three wins three draws and just one defeat. They’ve scored 10 goals and conceded five. Russia takes up third place and they’re just one point back of Sweden with 11. Fourth-place Montenegro is still mathematically in the running with eight points and Liechtenstein also have a mathematical shot at second place with their five points. However, with just nine points to still play for, the best last-place Moldova could do with their two points is to finish as high as third place. They’d need to run the table in their remaining three games though.