England vs Austria
Euro 2020 favourites England are set to begin their final tournament preparations as they take on Austria in an international friendly.
England manager Gareth Southgate will have finally trimmed down his Euro 2020 squad from 33 to 26 by the time of this friendly. However, the Three Lions will be shorthanded due to the absence of key Chelsea and Manchester City stars who were recently in action in the Champions League final.
But even without a number of stars, the international friendly 2021 betting odds still have the Three Lions significantly favoured on home turf against the visiting Austrians.
Southgate still possesses a deep and talented squad, and the players on the fringes will be eager to make the most of their opportunity to impress ahead of the tournament.
England missing Chelsea, City stars
England manager Gareth Southgate is in the final stages of his deliberation process on which of the 33 players currently in the provisional squad will make his final 26-man team for Euro 2020.
However, Southgate will not have the chance to field his best XI against Austria. That is because seven Chelsea and Manchester City players who just took part in the recently concluded Champions League final will be handed a much-needed rest.
Meanwhile, Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire will most likely miss out due to an ankle injury, which has put his place in the squad in serious jeopardy.
The absences of Maguire, John Stones, Kyle Walker, and Ben Chilwell will see Southgate without four potential starters in defence. That has opened the door for the likes of Kieran Trippier, Luke Shaw, and Trent Alexander-Arnold (should he make the squad) to challenge for a starting spot.
Meanwhile, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips will get the chance to cement a starting spot in central midfield in Mason Mount’s absence. Phillips, who is coming off an excellent season with Leeds United, has started in six of his seven career England caps, including the last three World Cup qualifiers.
Captain Harry Kane (34 goals in 53 caps) and Jadon Sancho look like locks to start up front. But with Sterling out and Marcus Rashford possibly rested, Jack Grealish (should he make the squad) could be handed a starring role on the left wing.
Austria aiming to get back on track
Austria will look to use their Euro 2020 warm-up friendlies to get back on track after an uneven start to their World Cup qualifying campaign. In their first three games, they drew 2-2 with Scotland after leading twice, beat the Faroe Islands 3-1, then suffered a disastrous 4-0 defeat to Denmark at home.
Austria coach Franco Foda will have a close to a full-strength squad to choose from against England. David Alaba — who just signed a big-money deal with Real Madrid – is by far the biggest name, and RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer has built up a reputation as one of the better under-the-radar players in Europe.
The versatile Alaba has played as a defender for most of his club career, but Foda will often play him in more advanced midfield roles. Alaba’s world-class defensive skills will certainly be needed against England’s dangerous forwards.
The Austrians will unfortunately be without another big name – veteran striker Marko Arnautovic – for their trip to England. The former West Ham star is set to miss out after suffering a thigh injury while playing for his Chinese club.
However, the Austrians still have a dangerous goalscoring threat in Sasa Kalajdzic, who is more than capable of producing some international friendly 2021 highlights.
The towering 23-year-old striker had a brilliant debut season in the Bundesliga with Stuttgart, scoring 16 goals in 33 appearances. Kalajdzic has also started his international career impressively, with three goals in his last three caps.
England have a stellar record against Austria. They have won 10 of their 18 matches, losing four and drawing four.
This will be the two countries’ first meeting since their international friendly in 2007. England won 1-0 in Vienna thanks to a Peter Crouch goal.