NL B Grp 3
Date: 5 p.m. Nov. 18, 2018
Venue: Windsor Park
Ref:
Att:
TV:

Corry Evans 57' -
Scored: 57'


Scored: 49'
- Xaver Schlager 49'

Scored: 90'
- Valentino Lazaro 90' + 3'



UEFA Nations League Preview: Northern Ireland -v- Austria

Sun, Nov 18 2018

Northern Ireland line up ahead of scoreless draw against the Republic of Ireland Credit: Michael P Ryan

Macdara Ferris reports from Belfast

NORTHERN IRELAND

Having lost all three games so far in the UEFA Nations League, resulting in relegation to League C, Northern Ireland will want to end their campaign at least on a high note with a win over Austria.

Michael O’Neill’s men felt unlucky to lose 1-0 to Austria in Vienna last month and will be looking to extract some revenge over Austria in Belfast on Sunday in what is a dead-rubber tie in a group that Bosnia & Herzegovina have already won.

O’Neill hasn’t been happy with his team’s performance in front of goal and is calling on his players to be more ruthless, although he recognises the challenge that his young players have against the Austrians.

“We just need to be more clinical in the final third and have a little bit more guile,” said O’Neill speaking to the press at Windsor Park on Saturday lunchtime. 

“We are asking a lot of our attacking players. It is a big step up from club football to international football. Our front three were playing in the Irish League when I took this job - Gavin Whyte, Liam Boyce and Stuart Dallas. It shows how far they have come.

“We are up against Champions League and Europa league players. The Austrians have a squad with 70% in the Bundesliga. It shows the calibre of the opponent.”

After last Thursday’s scoreless draw in Dublin, O’Neill will make some changes to his team but he won’t have the luxury of the six substitutes that he had for the Aviva friendly.

"I'll pick a team first of all to win the game," he said. "We'll be cautious to an extent, we don't want to lose players. A Thursday-Sunday doubleheader is a challenge but equally we have a number of players who haven't played a lot of club football and they want the games.

"George (Saville), Paddy McNair, Davo (Steven Davis) and even Jonny (Evans) to an extent have probably played less than in previous seasons so it is important that they play. Even Stuart Dallas is only recently into the Leeds team. They want the football and they have to get accustomed to playing doubleheaders.”

O’Neill had an extended 29 player squad in camp this week and has brought a number of players up from Ian Baraclough’s under 21 team to give them this experience. The Northern Ireland manager is always keen to push new talent into his team when they are ready. 

"We played the other night with a starting line-up of five core players and six players who are in single figures in terms of caps - Gavin Whyte, Liam Boyce, George Saville, Jamal Lewis, Michael Smith and the goalkeeper (Bailey Peacock Farrell).

"We're progressing as a team, those boys are stepping up in international football and playing against a lot more experienced players. I've been delighted with how the players have come in. In the squad we've got good competition for places in a lot of areas on the pitch, which at times before we haven't had.

Northern Ireland Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Michael McGovern (Norwich City), Trevor Carson (Motherwell), Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Leeds United), Conor Hazard (Celtic).

Defenders: Aaron Hughes (Hearts), Gareth McAuley (Glasgow Rangers), Jonathan Evans (Leicester City), Craig Cathcart (Watford), Conor McLaughlin (Millwall), Patrick McNair (Middlesbrough), Jamal Lewis (Norwich City), Michael Smith (Hearts), Tom Flanagan (Sunderland), Bobby Burns (Livingstone – on loan from Hearts).

Midfielders: Steven Davis (Southampton), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers), Shane Ferguson (Millwall), Stuart Dallas (Leeds United), George Saville (Middlesbrough, loan), Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock), Gavin Whyte (Oxford United), Jordan Thompson (Blackpool).

Forwards: Kyle Lafferty (Rangers), Josh Magennis (Bolton Wanderers), Liam Boyce (Burton Albion), Paul Smyth (Queens Park Rangers), Kyle Vassell (Rotherham United).

AUSTRIA

Ahead of travelling to Belfast to take on Northern Ireland this Sunday, Austria played out a scoreless draw in Vienna with Bosnia & Herzegovina at the Ernst-Happel Stadium.

They were the first points taken off Robert Prosinecki’s Bosnian team in the campaign but left Austria in second place with no chance of claiming top spot. The one point was enough for Bosnia & Herzegovina to gain promotion to League B as they remain nine games unbeaten.

"It is an important match tomorrow,” insisted Austrian manager Franco Foda on the eve of the game. He has one eye on the back door route for EURO 2020 through the UEFA Nations League play-off.

 “We definitely want to win in order to secure a good second place in League B and thus perhaps still have the opportunity to join the playoff.”

Foda will have to do without the injured Florian Grillitsch. The Hoffenheim defender was replaced in the squad by Sturm Graz player Stefan Hierlander, while Leipzig player Konrad Laimer has remained in Austria. 

He will stay with his national team’s u21 squad as they have a playoff early next week against Greece for a slot at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2019 in Italy. They won the first leg 1-0 in Thessaloniki on Friday. 

For this game in Belfast there is a small question mark over the match winner between Austria and Northern Ireland last time out. Marko Arnautovic has travelled and should still play but is still an injury concern. 

Austria captain Julian Baumgartlinger commented that he wants Das Teamto finish the UEFA Nations League strongly with the Euro qualifiers coming up in the new year.

"We will have the European Championship qualifying soon and we will not find much time to preparefor it, so it is all the more important to have a positive outcome in this away game.

Austria squad in full:

GOALKEEPER: Heinz Lindner (Grasshopper Club Zurich, 22 Caps), Cican Stankovic (Rb Salzburg, Uncapped); Richard Strebinger (Rapid Vienna, 1). 

DEFENCE: David Alaba (Bayern Munich, 65/13 Goals), Aleksandar Dragovic (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 68/1), Martin Hinteregger (Augsburg, 35/3 ), Stefan Lainer (Rb Salzburg, 10/0), Andreas Ulmer (Rb Salzburg, 8/0), Kevin Wimmer (Hannover, 9/0). 

MIDFIELD: Julian Baumgartlinger (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 64/1), , Stefan Ilsanker (Leipzig, 33/0), Florian Kainz (Werder Bremen, 12/0), Valentino Lazaro (Hertha Berlin, 17/0), Marcel Sabitzer (Rb Leipzig, 33/5), Louis Schaub (Cologne, 11/5), Xaver Schlager (Rb Salzburg, 6/0), Alessandro Schöpf (Schalke, 21/4), Peter Zulj (Sturm Graz, 8/0), Stefan Hierländer (Sk Sturm Graz; 3/0),

FORWARD: Marko Arnautovic ( West Ham United, 75/20), Guido Burgstaller (Schalke, 23/1), Michael Gregoritsch (Augsburg, 9/1)

 

Referee: Jonathan Lardot (Belgium).

MATCH STATS

Franco Foda won two German Cups during his playing career – one with Kaiserslautern and the other with Leverkusen. He gained two international caps with West Germany. As a manager he won three league titles with Sturm Graz.

Michael O’Neill agreed to join Austrian side Sturm Graz in 1996 on an early Bosman transer, only for Coventry City to come in and offer Hibernian a transfer fee to keep him within the UK (see last year’s extratime.ieinterview with O’Neill here).

In the last ten competitive encounters, Austria have three wins and there has been three draws. The last victory for Northern Ireland came in Northern Ireland’s 5-3 EURO 96 qualifier against Austria in Belfast in November 1995 with Michael O’Neill scoring two goals (see video below). Northern Ireland are unbeaten from the four competitive games between the sides in Belfast – with three wins and a draw.

BETTING

Northern Ireland 11/5; Draw 21/10; Austria 13/10.

PREDICTION

1-1

Northern Ireland

Injured:Liam Donnelly, Jamie Ward.
Doubtful: None.

Suspended:Oliver Norwood.

 

Austria

Injured:Florian Grillitsch.
Doubtful: None.

Suspended:None.

 



Northern Ireland
Trevor Carson
Goalkeeper
Jonny Evans
Defender
Stuart Dallas
Defender
Gareth McAuley
Defender
Michael Smith
Defender
Corry Evans
57Scored: 57'
88'
88Subbed Off: 88'
Midfielder
Steven Davis
Midfielder
George Saville
Midfielder
Jordan Jones
Forward
Liam Boyce
74'
74Subbed Off: 74'
79Booked: 79'
Forward
Niall McGinn
74'
74Subbed Off: 74'
Forward

Substitutes
Aaron Hughes
Defender
Conor Hazard
Goalkeeper
Shane Ferguson
Midfield
Craig Cathcart
Defender
Kyle Lafferty
74'
74Subbed On: 74'
Forward
Josh Magennis
Forward
Michael McGovern
Goalkeeper
Conor McLaughlin
Defender
Patrick McNair
88'
88Subbed On: 88'
Defender
Adam Thompson
Defender
Kyle Vassell
Forward
Gavin Whyte
74'
74Subbed On: 74'
Midfield
Austria
Heinz Lindner
Goalkeeper
Andreas Ulmer
Defender
Stefan Lainer
Defender
Martin Hinteregger
Defender
Aleksandar Dragovic
Defender
Xaver Schlager
Midfielder
49Scored: 49'
Valentino Lazaro
Midfielder
90Scored: 90'
Stefan Ilsanker
Midfielder 46'
46Subbed Off: 46'
Julian Baumgartlinger
Midfielder
52Booked: 52'
David Alaba
Midfielder
79Booked: 79'
Michael Gregoritsch
Forward 71'
71Subbed Off: 71'

Substitutes
Peter Zulj
Midfield
46Subbed On: 46'
46'
Kevin Wimmer
Defender
Richard Strebinger
Goalkeeper
Cican Stankovic
Goalkeeper
Alessandro Schopf
Midfield
Louis Schaub
Midfield
Tobias Kainz
Midfield
Marc Janko
Forward
Stefan Hierlander
Defender
Thomas Goiginger
Midfield
Marko Arnautovic
Midfield
71Subbed On: 71'
71'


Photo Gallery for Northern Ireland -v- Austria