Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Austria v Serbia match preview

Dietmar Constantini's Austrian side travel to Belgrade's Stadion Crvena Zvezda to face surging Serbia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday. Following the 2-1 victory over Romania in April, Austria still has a slight chance of qualifying, albeit through a multitude of unlikely results. Regardless of qualifying the turnaround orchestrated by the Österreichischer Fußball Bund has been nothing short of remarkable as Austria has catapulted from 108th in FIFA World ranking in July 2008 to 70th in the most recent results. Combined with the superb play of the development "unders", the future bodes well for Austria.

Standing in the way on Saturday is one of the hottest nations in World Cup qualifying, Serbia. Radomir Antić has his White Eagles side on the verge of sealing qualification and a packed house in beautiful Belgrade will ensure the match is played in a smoldering cauldron. After an early stumble against France, Serbia heads into Saturday's affair knowing that a victory is crucial in securing a trip to South Africa.

Austria will be without their leader Middlesbrough's Emanuel Pogatetz and will debut Aleksandar Dragović (Austria Wien), Julian Baumgartlinger (1860 München), Jakob Jantscher (Sturm Graz) and Florian Klein (LASK). Experience is at a premium and given the attacking prowess of the hosts in conjunction with a youthful Austrian side, Dietmar Constantini is likely to deploy a more defensive minded approach.