Iceland v Austria
Thursday June 23, 2:00am
Austria were many people’s idea of a dark horse for this tournament but unless they beat Iceland they’ll be going home and will finish bottom of the group. Win, however, and they’ll be through, while for Iceland a draw may be enough but a win will guarantee a top-two spot.
Iceland were happy to sit back and play on the counter-attack in their first two matches and it would be a surprise to see a change in approach now. However, they don’t keep many clean sheets and after a pair of 1-1 draws have just one in their last 12 matches. Eight of those had at least three goals but in competitive games it’s just one in six as their extra conservatism has taken effect.
Since 2014 Iceland have lost five of their six games against teams ranked 15th-30th but the last five have all been level at half-time and the last four defeats were all by a one goal margin as they’ve gone down fighting. There have been 13 final group matches at major tournaments since 1990 where one side had two points and were the lower ranked side and they’ve gone W3-D3-L7 with 7/13 having fewer than three goals and six being goalless at half-time.
Austria have not scored in three games and are showing little of the form that carried them to nine consecutive wins in qualifying. Furthermore, they’ve won only one of their last six matches against teams that they were ranked 10-30 places above while losing three times.
Five of Austria’s last six competitive games against teams in the top 80 of our rankings have finished with fewer than three goals, and half have had fewer than two. Given, Iceland are likely to sit back and pack men behind the ball that again looks the most likely outcome with Austria’s attack misfiring.
BACK – Under 1.5 Goals at 3.0