EURO 2016: Portugal-Austria
Saturday fixtures as well as the entire second round of the EURO 2016 group stage will be concluded with an attractive Group F duel between Portugal and Austria. Despite being the biggest favourites of the group, neither of these sides managed to pull off a victory in their openers. Portugal failed to beat Iceland who held them to a 1:1 draw while Austria suffered a surprising 0:2 defeat at the hands of Hungary. Therefore, the Saturday encounter of these two teams will be a fight for staying in contention for the advancement. Led by their iconic striker Ronaldo, the Portuguese will be the favourites of the duel, hoping to have more room for their offensive brilliance. Starting at 9 PM (CET), the clash Portugal vs. Austria will be played at Parc des Princes in Paris.
In terms of individual quality, few teams can compete with Portugal who have a number of world-class players in their squad including Ronaldo, Pepe, Carvalho, Moutihno and Nani. Looking to finally clinch their first major achievement at a big tournament, Selecao opened their EURO 2016 campaign with a game against one of the outsiders Iceland. Portugal were expected to dominate the game, which they really did. Nani scored their first goal after GomesÃ‚Â´s cross but for all their domination, they could not find a second goal due to the enormous effort Iceland put in their defence. The Portuguese were made to pay after a lapse in their defendersÃ‚Â´ concentration allowed Bjarnason to equalize the score. Eventually, despite their overwhelming pressure, Portugal failed to score the winner, being held to a draw. Frustrated by the outcome, Ronaldo even left the field without shaking any IslandÃ‚Â´s playersÃ‚Â´ hands. The Saturday fixture against Austria is likely to have a different course though. In a desperate need of points, the Austrians will have to focus on their attack too, possibly leaving gaps in their defence that Portugal should take advantage of to win the game.
Austria stunned Europe with their fabulous qualifying campaign marked by nine consecutive wins but the following preparation did not turn out that well for the team. After producing several unconvincing results including defeats at the hands of Switzerland, Turkey and the Netherlands, KollerÃ‚Â´s side were not as ambitious and confident as they were during the qualification. Still, with respect to their outfit quality, they were considered one of the favourites of their group and they were expected to progress to the knock-out stage at EURO 2016 but the very first group match suggested Austria might have a surprisingly hard time reaching the next stage as they lost to Hungary. Apart from the dismal performance they gave in the game, the Austrians also struggled with discipline as they were sent to ten after defender Dragovic received a red card. Reeling from the unexpected failure and without Dragovic who will be suspended for the next match, Austria will take on Portugal on Saturday, knowing that another defeat would mean an early exit for them. Let us see if they pull together and deliver a better performance in the Saturday fixture.
Originally, the Group F clash between Portugal and Austria was supposed to be a top-notch game that would decide the group winner as both of these teams were regarded the biggest favourites of the group. However, neither of them met the expectations in the first round, making their Saturday head-to-head match a crucial, must-win encounter for both. With more quality in their squad and history on their side, Portugal will be the favourites of the clash. Will they manage to atone for the disappointing result of their first duel and clinch a win in this extremely important duel? We will know by Saturday night.
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