Austria v Hungary
Wednesday June 15, 2:00am
Austria won nine of their 10 qualifying matches as part of an unbeaten campaign and they are big favourites to carry that into the Finals with a win over their neighbours Hungary. Historically they’ve not been as good but this time around the Hungarians, who are at their first European Finals since 1972, have a far weaker side.
Hungary last faced a team in the top 20 of our rankings in qualifying for the last World Cup, when they were beaten 4-1 and 8-1 by the Netherlands, and they won just four of their 10 qualifying group matches while scoring only 11 times. Furthermore, they’ve not won any of their last 12 matches against higher ranked teams, though they did manage seven draws.
Austria have lost friendlies against Switzerland, Turkey and Netherlands since qualifying for these Finals but all three are strong teams and in their last nine matches against teams ranked 25th-100th they’ve recorded seven wins (W7-D2-L0). That includes five consecutive wins in this qualifying campaign, part of a run of wins in all of their last nine competitive games.
Almost all of these Austrian players are coming into their prime and the team selection has been relatively consistent in recent years as they have no particular weaknesses. They’ve not won a match at a major tournament since 1990 but have been given an excellent draw and should be full of confidence. They’ve scored in 23 of 24 games ahead of this tournament and with their two holding midfielders protecting the back four they are relatively solid at the back.
Six of Austria’s nine wins in qualifying came to nil and against a Hungary side that doesn’t offer much going forward we not only expect them to win the match – which is a decent price at 1.83 – but also do so with a clean sheet and the win to nil can be backed at 2.75. Half of Hungary’s 12 qualifiers, including the play-offs, had fewer than two goals, and given we think they’ll struggle to score it follows that both Under 2.5 Goals at 1.62 and Under 1.5 at around 3.0 are excellent value.
BACK – Under 1.5 Goals at 3.05