MX23RW : Sunday, August 1 16:14:05| >> :600:425424:425424:
Mar 25, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Hampden Park
Hanley (71'), McGinn (85')
Hanley (14'), Christie (24'), Dykes (49'), O'Donnell (82')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Kalajdzic (55', 80')
Kalajdzic (62'), Grillitsch (70'), Ilsanker (90+1')

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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's World Cup Qualifying - Europe clash between Scotland and Austria, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Scotland open their World Cup qualifying campaign against Austria on Thursday evening as Steve Clarke's side look to build on reaching Euro 2020.

Like their hosts, Austria have not featured at a World Cup finals since 1998, but being drawn in a well-matched group has provided Burschen with their best opportunity in two decades.

Match preview

Scotland manager Steve Clarke pictured on November 15, 2020© Reuters

After the famous night in Serbia, Scotland unsurprisingly delivered two below-par performances in defeats to Slovakia and Israel, ending an outstanding 2020 on a low note.

However, with three competitive matches to be played before their appearance at Euro 2020, Clarke will stress to his Tartan Army squad that places are up for grabs in the summer.

While the opportunity to represent their country at a major tournament should act as the necessary motivation, this group of players are aware that their hard work must continue in order to end their period away from the World Cup.

Although Clarke will stress that this remains a group which will throw up a range of tests, there can be no denying that avoiding the continent's biggest teams has opened a door for Scotland.

Nevertheless, improvements need to be made in the final third with Scotland scoring just six goals in eight matches since September.

In sharp contrast, Austria netted 14 times during a tougher set of fixtures, a return which only strengthens the feeling that they could run Denmark close for top spot.

Six wins were recorded during the back end of 2020, their current unbeaten streak having been stretched to six games courtesy of a last-minute equaliser against Norway in their most recent encounter.

Remarkably, nine of Austria's last 10 goals have been scored in the second half, their only effort before the break coming in the 42nd minute against Northern Ireland in October.

Provided that his team continue to churn out results and outlast the opposition, Franco Foda will remain satisfied with the progression of his side at an important stage of their development.

Despite three appearances at the European Championship being achieved since 2008, Austria are under pressure to end their 24-year wait for a return to the biggest stage.

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

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

Team News

Lyndon Dykes celebrates scoring for Scotland against Slovakia in the Nations League on October 11, 2020© Reuters

Clarke has a number of decisions to make regarding his Scotland starting lineup, including whether to hand a start to David Marshall after his spell out through injury.

Ryan Jack's withdrawal could lead to Scott McTominay reverting back to his more familiar role in midfield, allowing Scott McKenna to feature in defence.

Che Adams is unlikely to be considered for a starting role on his first appearance in the squad, but Oliver McBurnie could replace Lyndon Dykes.

With Marko Arnautovic not featuring in the Austria squad, Adrian Grbic and Sasa Kalajdzic are both pushing for a start in the final third.

Florian Grillitsch is in line to replace the injured Julian Baumgartlinger in midfield, with Christoph Baumgartner also in contention for a starting role.

Scotland possible starting lineup:
Marshall; O'Donnell, McKenna, Gallagher, Tierney, Robertson; McGinn, McTominay, McGregor; McBurnie, Christie

Austria possible starting lineup:
Pervan; Lainer, Dragovic, Ilsanker, Ulmer; Grillitsch, Sabitzer; Schlager, Baumgartner, Alaba; Kalajdzic

SM words green background

We say: Scotland 1-1 Austria

While both nations will be eager to get off to a winning start, avoiding defeat at Hampden Park may take priority. With that in mind, we expect a low-scoring draw to play out, potentially with Scotland having to fend off a late rally from their opponents.

Top tip

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Southampton striker Che Adams pictured on January 23, 2021
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States20231659
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12191344
Great BritainGreat Britain10101232
Today's Olympic highlights header

Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Trophee des Champions
Taca da Liga
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Belarusian Premier League
Major League Soccer
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX

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