Republic Of Ireland vs Austria preview: Crucial World Cup qualifying clash in Dublin

Republic Of Ireland vs Austria preview: Crucial World Cup qualifying clash in Dublin

Republic Of Ireland host Austria on matchday six of the 2018 World cup qualifying group D phase at the Aviva stadium.

jamie-joslyn
Jamie Joslyn

Republic Of Ireland host Austria in a crucial 2018 World cup qualifying group D match in Dublin.

Taking charge

Martin O'Neil's side know if they can see off Austria in Dublin, they'll move seven points clear of them with four games left in group D and with potential for a Serbia victory over Wales coming elsewhere on Sunday, Ireland could have themselves a clear run towards at least a playoff tie at the end of this campaign.

That's the reward for the home side if they are aggressive in this game, which has had it's build-up as a must not lose game for Austria moving into the second half of the campaign. 

The story so far

The Irish currently sit second in the group behind leaders Serbia on goal difference, with both teams having an unbeaten record of three wins and two draws at the halfway stage of the group. Austria are fourth right now in a race for two qualifying spots after two wins, two defeats and the one draw to give them seven points from five games so far.

Managed by Marcel Koller, Austria have had their difficulties over the last year after going out of UEFA Euro 2016, 12 months ago with only a point and one goal to their name. A team highlighted by Bayern Munich star David Alaba have already lost to Ireland in this group after a James McClean strike settled things in Vienna back in November.

Another defeat in Dublin this weekend and the Austrians can almost certainly kiss goodbye to an automatic berth to what would be a first World Cup finals appearance in 20 years. 

Team news

Forwards Shane Long and David McGoldrick will miss this clash for Ireland with respective injuries, while Cyrus Christie of Derby County will deputise at right back in place of Seamus Coleman after his horrendous double leg break against Wales back in March.

Austria have a few key players unavailable for this one because of various reasons with Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic and Stefan Ilsanker of RB Leipzig suspended.

Also Koller has Marc Janko and Marcel Sabitizer out with injuries and Red Bull Salzburg defender, Andreas Ulmer misses the game because he is getting married this weekend.

Stats

McClean has scored Ireland's last three goals in qualifying and he also has the third highest amount of shots of anyone in the European qualifying section with 24 taken.

Martin O'Neil is yet to lose a home qulaifying game as Ireland boss with five wins in eight games at the Aviva stadium.

David Alaba has created the most chances for the Austrian team in qualifying so far with 15, three of those have been goal assists. 

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