Well well - I think everybody expected this game to be the one that decided who will win this group, with the other being comfortably second and the world being on an even keel again. Sorry to disappoint you but both of these teams faltered in their opening games which now makes this a scrap for survival. This is a vital game for both teams and the winner will feel that they can bring that confidence into the next game and qualify from the group.
Portugal couldn't get past Iceland in the first game and ended up drawing 1-1 with them, much to Cristiano Ronaldo's dismay. I did mention in my pre-tournament preview that Portugal have a great team on paper but they seem to play awful football at times and lack that cutting edge, despite having a play with over 250 goals for Real Madrid in even less games! Having said that, they always reach the latter stages of international competitions and I can see it happening again. Portugal limping their way through silently.
Austria, in the first game, were a horrible mixture of poor and unlucky. David Alaba could have put them ahead after just 45 seconds and was so unlucky to see his drive hit the post. Austria also had the ball in the back of the net courtesy of a brilliant finish from Martin Hinteregger, only to have it chalked off for a foul by Dragovic in the build-up, who was subsequently sent off for the challenge! It will a strange moment in the game but it gave Hungary more confidence and ended up scoring a 2nd.
The Austria manager will want to quickly forget that and re-focus his players, they have been brilliant for the past 2 years and will genuinely believe they can get back on track in this game but it is going to be a tough ask for them.
I actually think Portugal will qualify by beating Hungary in their last game but this one has draw written all over it for me. Portugal lack cutting edge, Austria lack cutting edge and are both suspect defensively as the last game proved against weaker opposition. I think it will be a score draw but I can't see either side taking the initiative and winning this. Ronaldo could settle it but if he plays like he did against Iceland then he might as well go back home to Madrid.
This really is an outside punt but I can definitely see it being 0-0 more than I can 2-2 or any other high scoring result. Both of these teams looked a bit blunt in attack in the last game and if that continues then 0-0 isn't a ridiculous outcome. I'm not saying smash £50 on it but its certainly worth a cheeky couple of quid - hence the heading 'cheeky outside punt'.
I can't separate these 2 teams, they both haven't shown me anything to suggest that they can put a few goals past someone. They both played mediocre teams and they didn't look like scoring a lot at any point, especially Portugal. Austria did have the ball in the net and hit the post so on another day they could've scored a couple but the fact remains that Hungary aren't great and they were embarrassed by them. Score draw.
I'm backing Austria to score first with Ronaldo rescuing a point for the Portuguese in the second half - probably in dramatic fashion, I mean, it is CR7 after all. This should be a good tactical game and there will definitely be chances for both teams and both defences are suspect, especially now Dragovic will be banned for this game.
I backed Marc Janko to score first last game and he was largely ineffectual, however I fancy him to turn that around this game and bag a goal. He was Austria's top goal scorer in qualifying and he certainly knows where the net is. At 29 he has enough experience to shrug off the first game and re-focus. I think he's a brilliant shout for the first goal without just going for the obvious choice, Ronaldo.
Both of these teams have - shall we say over confident players. Austria have Arnautovic who believes he is the greatest player to kick a ball and Portugal have Ronaldo and Nani. Granted Ronaldo probably has the closest say in that but my point is that they all love to shoot from outside the box, and they're actually quite good at it. Don't be surprised to see an absolute pearler into the top bag at some point from either side.