Portugal vs Austria Preview: Koller's men look for riposte against Cristiano and co.

Match preview of Saturday evening's Euro 2016 Group F clash between Portugal and Austria at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

Portugal vs Austria Preview: Koller's men look for riposte against Cristiano and co.
Photo: VAVEL UK

Saturday will see take two in Austria's attempt to get on the board in Group F, as they face Portugal in the French capital at the Parc des Princes.

Marcel Koller's side will look for an immediate reply following a humbling defeat to supposed group whipping-boys Hungary, in their opening European Championship game in Bordeaux last Tuesday.

With the Portuguese being held by a resolute defensive display from Iceland themselves, the game represents a potential watershed moment for both sides.

Koller will demand response

Regarded by many as one particular dark horse for the tournament, Das Team suffered a damaging defeat, just as fellow equines Belgium did in their opening clash.

David Alaba crashed an effort of the upright within 28 seconds for Austria and his teammates threatened in the early stages, but lacked a certain cohesion in the centre of the park. Koller's side were then picked off by goals from Ádám Szalai and substitute Zoltán Stieber. In truth over the 90 minutes, it was the Mighty Magyars who seemed in the more comfort on the ball.

Zoltan Stieber chips Austrian 'keeper Robert Almer to seal Hungarian win (photo:getty)
Zoltan Stieber chips Austrian 'keeper Robert Almer to seal Hungarian win (photo:getty)

Aside from Alaba, Marko Arnautovic huffed and puffed. Zlatko Junuzovic sustained an injury in the first half and struggled to assert himself. Perhaps only Julian Baumgartlinger ahead of the Austrian backline was the bright spark, snuffing out the industrious Ádám Nagy in attack.

The Portuguese likewise had an heir of the lacklustre in their play versus the Icelandics. Cristiano Ronaldo dipped in and out of affairs and only a goal from Nani amongst a hatful of chances for Seleçao Portuguesa, found the net.

Portuguese may make changes

In the face of a stubborn defensive display from Iceland, Fernando Santos' may look to make alterations to his Portuguese ranks.

The likes of Ronaldo and Nani will almost certainly keep their berths, as will André Gomes after a sound creative display in midfield.

Birkir Bjarnason's equaliser held Portugal to a 1-1 draw in Saint-Etienne (photo:getty)
Birkir Bjarnason's equaliser held Portugal to a 1-1 draw in Saint-Etienne (photo:getty)

After Danilo and João Mário failed to stamp their marks on proceedings however, the likes of Rafa Silva, Willian Carvalho and Bayern Munich's latest incumbant Renato Sanches wait in the wings, should Santos look for more of a cutting edge in the final third. 

Austrians face already-crucial fixture

Even within the realms of a competition, where 16 of 18 teams that finish third will qualify for the knockout stages, a defeat for either side is pitful thought. Particularly Austria.

With games to come versus Iceland and Hungary respectively, Group F is wide open still. A win however for Portugal and Hungary also, will leave Marcel Koller's charges staring down the barrel with only the chance of third spot up for grabs, leaving the top two vying for top spot. Austrian chances of a first progression past the Euro group stages in Euro history, would be slim at best.

Team News

Danilo is nursing a back injury for Portugal and is a doubt, leaving William Carvalho a possibility in his stead. 

For Austria, Zlatko Junuzovic is likely to miss out following the injury sustained in midweek. David Alaba is an option to play further forward, which could see Alessandro Schöpf come into central midfield.

Following his dismissal versus Hungary, Aleksandar Dragovic is suspended, so Watford's Sebastian Prödl or Tottenham Hotspur man Kevin Wimmer are set to be brought it.