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Preview: Austria vs. Slovakia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's International Friendlies clash between Austria and Slovakia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Austria take on Slovakia on Sunday in both nations' final warm-up friendly before Euro 2020 begins next week.

The hosts are looking to bounce back from Wednesday's narrow 1-0 defeat to England, while Slovakia will be aiming to improve on a 1-1 draw with Bulgaria the day beforehand.


Match preview

Austria's Christoph Baumgartner celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on March 28, 2021© Reuters

Despite ultimately losing to a Bukayo Saka second-half winner in Middlesbrough on Wednesday, Austria manager Franco Foda would have been fairly satisfied with his team's application against one of Euro 2020's outright favourites.

Indeed, his side had considerably more shots and more possession than the Three Lions, while showing plenty of aggression on the way to committing 19 fouls and consequently picking up three yellow cards.

While Euro 2020 remains the priority, with Das Team facing Netherlands, Ukraine and North Macedonia as they attempt to progress from Group C, Foda will be keen for his side to earn a morale-boosting win against Slovakia on Sunday.

Should they apply similar levels of spirit and quality as they did against England, there is every chance that they can do so ahead of their opening match against North Macedonia one week later.

 Slovakia manager Stefan Tarkovic on March 30, 2021© Reuters

Slovakia, meanwhile, may have taken less confidence from failing to beat a Bulgaria side which has not qualified for this summer's major tournament.

In fairness, key players such as Marek Hamsik, Milan Skriniar and Martin Dubravka were not involved in the international friendly, with manager Stefan Tarkovic potentially saving the trio for this Sunday's trip to Austria instead.

However, Tarkovic would still have been disappointed by falling short of victory against a country which is 35 places lower than his in the FIFA rankings.

With Spain, Poland and Sweden to overcome in Group E at Euro 2020, Slovakia will need to perform much better if they are to reach the knockout stages for a second successive European Championship, with a decent performance potentially required in Austria on Sunday to build momentum.

Austria form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L

Slovakia form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D



Team News

Austria's Marko Arnautovic reacts during a friendly against Russia on May 30, 2018© Reuters

Former West Ham United forward Marko Arnautovic missed the friendly defeat to England with a thigh injury and is unlikely to be risked ahead of Euro 2020.

Captain Julian Baumgartlinger recovered from his recent injury to appear from the bench, though, and could start in order to allow David Alaba to drop deeper into a more favoured position in central midfield.

Christopher Trimmel could receive the nod ahead of Stefan Lainer at right-back after enjoying a superb season with Union Berlin in the Bundesliga.

Slovakia, meanwhile, are likely to bring Dubravka, Skriniar and Hamsik into the starting XI as Tarkovic looks to build rhythm and confidence ahead of Euro 2020.

The 48-year-old was unable to convince former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel to come out of international retirement, though, leaving Peter Pekarik as the most experienced defender in the squad after the Hertha Berlin right-back earned his 100th cap against Bulgaria in midweek.

Austria possible starting lineup:
Bachman; Trimmel, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Friedl; Laimer, Schlager, Alaba; Baumgartlinger, Kalajdzic, Sabitzer

Slovakia possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Pekarik, Satka, Skriniar, Hubocan; Lobotka, Hrosovsky, Hamsik; Suslov, Duris, Weiss


SM words green background

We say: Austria 1-1 Slovakia

With little separating these two nations, we can envisage a low-scoring draw.

Neither manager will want to lose ahead of Euro 2020, so it would be little surprise to see a stalemate play out.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Austria vs Slovakia

Austria
56.0%
Draw
32.1%
Slovakia
11.9%
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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

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