Tomorrow night England face Austria at the Riverside Stadium in the first of their two warm up games ahead of Euro 2020. With Gareth Southgate just announcing his final squad ahead of the Euros it will be a chance for certain players to impress with the first game being only 12 days away. Despite that, the seven that missed out on the final squad are expected to be a part of the squad for the two warm up friendlies, apart from Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, which will give England a chance to experiment. This fixture also marks the return of fans (even if it is a limited number) which is sure to be a welcome boost to the three lions as they are to play in front of fans for the first time since their 4-0 away win at Kosovo in November 2019.
Recent Form (Last 6 Games)
ENGLAND – LLWWWW
AUSTRIA – WWDDWL
England come into this one as resounding favourites after winning their last four and would love to continue this form into the Euros whereas, Austria have had indifferent form recently only winning one of their last four and drawing with England’s group stage opponents Scotland. In this time they have been weak at the back, failing to keep a clean sheet in their last 5 games while conceding 9 goals. This should play into England’s hands as they have been free scoring, bagging 13 in their last 4 games and this could give the three lions frontline confidence if they are able to dismantle the Austrian defence.
With Austria being ranked 23rd in the FIFA world rankings some may expect this to be a routine victory for the three lions however they may provide a sterner test. With players like Real Madrid’s new signing David Alaba, current RB Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer and former West Ham marksman Marko Arnautovic there is quality within their ranks. When qualifying for the Euros, Austria finished second in their group behind Poland winning 6, drawing 3, and only losing 1. With a group consisting of the Netherlands, North Macedonia and Ukraine, it is expected that it will be a close contest for qualification into the last 16.
Head to Head: The Last Five
16/11/2007: Austria 0-1 England (Int. Friendly)
08/10/2005: England 1-0 Austria (World Cup Qualifier)
04/09/2004: Austria 2-2 England (World Cup Qualifier)
13/06/1979: Austria 4-3 England (Int. Friendly)
26/09/1973: England 7-0 Austria (Int. Friendly)
It has been nearly 14 years since England last faced Austria, since then the three Lions have had 4 managers and 45 debutants with Ashley Young claiming his first England cap in that fixture. Austria have only managed to win on English soil once and that was way back in 1965 in a game which involved multiple players that would go on to give England their maiden and only World Cup to date in 1966.
My Prediction: England 2-0 Austria
I believe that Southgate will use this game to finalise his plans for the Euros and give us a glimpse of the system that he will use this summer. I think that whatever front 3 England use it should be enough to overpower Austria’s weak defence and even without Maguire, I expect England to keep Austria out. I think once we are a couple of goals up I think we will take the foot off the gas and see the game out comfortably.