NOT A FRIENDLY MATTER

NOT A FRIENDLY MATTER

ENGLAND VS AUSTRIA

England face off against Austria in this friendly before the European Championship kicks off in less than two weeks.

Gareth Southgate has had a tough job over the past few weeks. The constant speculation surrounding the future of Trent Alexander-Arnold in the squad has been at its peak. Furthermore, his decision to cut Jesse Lingard has also ignited rage with the midfielder having been arguably the most in-form man in the last weeks of the league.

 

 

The Liverpool man has been included and, Southgate will just be glad to have some actual footballing action to look forward to. The Three Lions are unbeaten in their last three matches and sit atop their group for the 2022 World Cup qualification. England are expected to win it all (again!) this summer, and this is just the place to start.

 

 

Austria, meanwhile, suffered a 4-0 drubbing in their most recent match. Franco Foda’s men have been a strong contender in the international forum for the past few years, and have a lot of very experienced players in the camp.

Their main goal will be to make it out of the group stage for the first time ever and provide a good showing of themselves. The current crop of players will be desperate to upset the apple-cart, starting with a serious statement by winning against England in this match.

 

 

The friendly will be a good opportunity for each team to test their strengths and weaknesses. Each camp has got a good chance to figure out their best team in time for the competition.

 

TEAM NEWS

England have quite a few conundrums when it comes to the selection of their playing eleven. Starting with who plays at right-back, who are the central attacking options and who features on the flanks. Harry Maguire, Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson are all recovering from injuries, and will not be risked.

 

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Pickford; Trippier, Mings, Coady, Shaw; Rice, Lingard, Bellingham; Saka, Kane, Grealish

 

Marko Arnautovic is set to miss out after a late injury. Except that, Foda has a full squad to choose from and he will likely be giving a few of his most senior players game time before the Euros.

 

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Lindner; Lainer, Hinteregger, Dragovic, Ulmer; Grillitsch, Schlager; Alaba, Sabitzer, Baumgartner; Grbic

 

GAME CHANGERS 

Harry Kane, in this team, will be one of the most crucial men for the tournament. The Spurs man has been prolific in the Premier League this season. The 27-year-old had the most goals (23) and the most assists (14) to cap off another stellar campaign. Though he has expressed his desire to leave the club, there is no doubt that Kane will the talisman for his country once again.

 

 

He is one of the most technically sound players in the squad. His direct running, impeccable shot accuracy and heading prowess will be a real cause of concern for the opposing defence. Further, his range of passing has also improved dramatically. Southgate will rely heavily on Kane throughout the tournament, and starting from this match, the weight of a nation is on his shoulders.

 

 

For Austria, their main threat will be Leipzig midfielder Marcel Sabitzer. He racked up eight goals and three assists in the German top flight and is considered one of the most important players for his nation. Slotting in behind the main striker, Sabitzer is known for linking up play fast and getting the ball forward. His shot accuracy and eye for passing will also be key.

 

 

The Austrian will look to feast on a relatively young defensive midfield for England. His partnership with the wing players will be a strong facet of this team. Furthermore, his mastery from dead ball situations will also cause danger, especially with Harry Maguire absent from the Three Lions side.

 

PREDICTIONS

The weight of expectations is immense on England. After a run to the semi-final in the last World Cup, Southgate knows he has to perform in a consistent manner. A win in this friendly will immediately install good vibes across the nation. Foda and co. will be banking on their status of dark horses to prove that they will be no pushovers. FootTheBall predicts a 2-0 win for England.

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