Russia continue their World Cup preparations on Wednesday evening when they travel to Innsbruck to test themselves against a team who failed to make the cut in qualifying. Having lost out to France in their most recent friendly, Stanislav Cherchesov’s men will be hoping for better, though they don’t exactly have much recent form to draw upon. The visitors come into this fixture having failed to win any of their last five matches. With FIFA’s flagship event right around the corner, the Russians need a result to boost their confidence.
Sadly, Austria won’t be at the World Cup, but they will be hoping to scupper the Russians’ plans by coming out on top in this match. Despite failing to book their place in Russia, Wednesday’s hosts have been in good form in recent times, winning each of their last five matches. Unlike their visitors, Franco Foda’s side should be confident ahead of this one.
Russia may be the team going to the World Cup (by default as hosts), but they’re not the team in form at present. They’re conceding far too many goals and continue to look far too open defensively, conceding a worrying total of nine goals in each of their last three matches. Facing Spain, Brazil and France on the bounce was never going to be easy, while there’s no guarantee that Austria will be able to muster a similar level of forward threat, but the fact that they’re not at all secure remains the same.
Prior to facing some of the best teams in the World in preparation for the big tournament, Russia were also struggling to keep things tight at the back against lesser opposition. Cherchesov’s men failed to keep Iran out back in October 2017, while they were none too clever defensively when conceding twice against South Korea prior to that.
Interestingly, Wednesday’s visitors have conceded at least twice in five of their last seven fixtures, while their defensive record in friendlies is also poor. Since the start of 2017, Russia have kept a clean sheet in just one of their ten friendly fixtures, while they’ve shipped at least two goals in seven of those.
Not only have the visitors shown themselves to be somewhat defensively inept in recent times, but Austria, despite not making it to Russia this summer, have created a pleasing impression in the final third, especially at home. Wednesday’s hosts notched three against Slovenia in March, while they got the better of a strong Uruguay side prior to that, scoring twice in the process. In addition, a month earlier, Foda’s side delivered a strong attacking performance when hitting the net not once, not twice, but thrice against Serbia.
Having delivered some pleasing forward performances on home soil in recent times, Austria are fancied to become the latest team to exploit the Russians’ weak rear-guard. At the prices, backing ‘Austria to Score Over 1.5 Goals’ stands out.
Looking for Accumulator tips? See what our experts are tipping today and follow the smart money.
Russia have a poor record in this fixture having lost two of the three renewals, while they’ve never beaten Austria. When the teams last met, back in 2015, Austria won by a goal to nil.
Austria have included four new players in their current squad. Richard Strebinger, Cican Stankovic, Marvin Potzmann and Thomas Murg will all be hoping to win their first cap for their country on Wednesday evening.
Ruslan Kambolov had to pull out of Russia’s World Cup squad recently and was replaced by Sergei Ignashevich. Russia’s big-name players, such as Dzagoev, Samedov, Kokorin and Fernandes are all likely to feature, though there was no place for Zenit’s Aleksandr Kokorin.