Hosts Austria will look to avoid Switzerland’s fate when they face Poland in an all important Group B clash in Vienna. The Swiss, thanks to their 1-2 defeat against Turkey are out of the tournament, and should Austria fall to Poland, they will join their co hosts in watching from the sidelines in the knockout stages.
Austria were good in their game against Croatia, especially in the second half. They did look the better side, but lacked that crucial final touch in front of goal. For today’s game, the Austrians are expected to lineup the same way as they did against Croatia. Roland Linz is an injury doubt for this game, and if he does not pass fitness tests, then Roman Kienast will replace him. Martin Harnik should retain his spot after an impressive display against Croatia. Ivanschitz, Saumel and Proedl will need to have a greater degree of accuracy with their long range efforts. Some of the Austrian players like Emanuel Pogatez, are walking on a defensive tightrope, as another card will ensure suspension for a game. Hickersberger will be wondering whether to start with Korkmaz, who gave a good account of himself after coming on for Gercaliu against Croatia.
Poland did well against Germany in a match they were expected to lose. Had they converted their half chances, the 2-0 scoreline might well have read differently. Skipper Zurawski’s thigh strain means that he will have to be replaced by Brazilian Roger, with the captain’s armband going to veteran central defender Jacek Bak. There are also injury concerns over Lewandowski, one of Poland’s two holding medios, the other being Dariusz Dudka.Jakub Wawrzyniak could replace Pawel Golanski at left back. Ebi Smolarek was Poland’s highest scorer in qualifying, and he will be up against Pogatetz and Strandl.
On paper Poland should win this. Expect another good performance from the Austrians, but Poland’s quality should tell by the final whistle. Poland to win this 2-0, with Smolarek and Roger scoring.