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Wales v Austria betting tips: Rivals impossible to split

| 21.03.2022

Wales take on Austria in a one-off World Cup play-off semi-final on Thursday when the winner will meet either Scotand or Ukraine for the right to play in Qatar.

Scotland’s match has been postponed until June because of Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine so we are left with the game in Cardiff as our only preview this week, with both teams impossible to split in the Wales v Austria odds.

It should be a cracking atmosphere in the Welsh capital so let’s look at some of the talking points in our Wales v Austria betting tips.

Wales v Austria form

Kieffer Moore’s equaliser against the world’s number one ranked team Belgium in their final group game ensured a home draw for Wales, who had already guaranteed a spot in the play-off semi-finals having won their Nations League group.

Wales finished five points behind Belgium in second place having won four and drawn three of their eight games and they are 13/8 to beat Austria bearing in mind they are unbeaten in their last 16 home games, while the visitors are the same price.

Rob Page’s side are also unbeaten in their last six competitive matches, seven if we include the goalless draw with Finland in September’s friendly, and have drawn two of their last three home games which is available at 9/5.

Both teams are 9/1 to win in extra time and are 10/1 to win on penalties in our Wales v Austria betting tips.

That said, Austria have drawn just one of their last 13 competitive matches, so we go 11/10 on under 1.5 goals in the first half, two or fewer after the break and either team to win.

Alternatively, both teams to score, over 2.5 goals and either team to win is available at 12/5.

Austria advanced solely through their performance in the Nations League, having finished in fourth place behind Denmark, Scotland and Israel in their World Cup qualifying group.

Franco Foda’s side finished three points clear of Norway in Group One of League B and reached the last 16 of Euro 2020 where they took eventual champions Italy to extra time but eventually lost 2-1 at Wembley.

However, their World Cup qualifying campaign was hugely disappointing, losing 5-2 in Israel in September and 1-0 at home to Scotland three days later and although they won three of their last four games, the damage had already been done.

Austria have not won a competitive fixture against higher FIFA-ranked opponents during Foda’s four years in charge. They are currently 30 in the FIFA world rankings, 10 places below Wales.

Wales v Austria head to head

The teams last met in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, with Wales twice leading in the first group encounter in Vienna only for the game to end in a 2-2 draw thanks to a double from Marko Arnautovic.

In the return, Ben Woodburn scored a brilliant goal in a 1-0 victory in Cardiff, although both teams failed to qualify for the finals in Russia.

Wales are unbeaten in the last three meetings with the Austrians, two of which involved both teams scoring and over 2.5 goals which can be backed at 9/5, while the hosts to win and concede is 5/1, the same price as the visitors.

Key Battles

Page has plenty of attacking options at his disposal and skipper Gareth Bale has declared himself fit having been left out of Real Madrid’s 23-man squad for Sunday’s 4-0 defeat by arch rivals Barcelona with what the Wales camp have described as a “little niggle”.

But Bale will start Thursday’s play-off semi-final against Austria in Cardiff, saying he is in “very good shape” despite playing just 77 minutes of club football since featuring against Real Betis on August 28.

Marko Arnautovic, Franco Foda, Andreas Weimann, Austria

Bale could line up in a 4-4-2 as he did in the 5-1 win against Belarus, but Page went with a 4-1-4-1 against Switzerland and Turkey at Euro 2020, later opting for a 3-4-3 against Italy in the final group game, while he deployed a 4-2-3-1 in the drubbing by Denmark in the last 16, so it remains to be seen how they will line up.

Aaron Ramsey has been playing regularly for Rangers and scored his first goal since joining the Scottish champions on loan from Juventus, so he is likely to start in the heart of midfield.

Austria’s key players remain David Alaba, who played at centre-back in Sunday’s El Clasico, and Marko Arnautovic.

The former West Ham striker has scored three goals in his last four appearances for Bologna in Serie A and also bagged five in five during World Cup qualifying.

Wales v Austria team news

Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward is out after undergoing knee surgery, so Burnley veteran Wayne Hennessey is set to earn his 99th cap for Wales.

Moore (foot) and Tyler Roberts are both on the sidelines, while St Pauli defender James Lawrence is missing with a thigh problem.

Winger Rabbi Matondo is back in the squad for the first time since being sent home following a World Cup qualifier last March for a breach of protocols.

Goalscorer odds

Bale and Arnautovic lead the betting at 4/1 to break the deadlock, although the Wales man is slightly shorter at 9/5 to score any time, with the Austrian priced at 2/1.

The Real Madrid star scored a hat-trick in a 3-2 win in Belarus in September but has started just one match since then, a goalless draw at Villarreal last month.

Dan James is 6/1 and 11/4 in the two options, while Ramsey is 8/1 and 7/2 in our Wales v Austria betting tips.

Aaron Ramsey, Rangers

Fulham midfielder Harry Wilson has scored 11 goals for his club in all competitions and is 11/2 to get the ball rolling or 13/5 to find the net, with in-form Nottingham Forest winger Brennan Johnson available at 8/1 and 7/2.

Andreas Weimann has struck 18 times for Bristol City this season and is 6/1 and 13/5 in the two markets to score for Austria, while midfielder Christoph Baumgartner is 15/2 and 10/3.

Match info

Where: Cardiff City Stadium

When: 19:45, Thursday 24th March

How to watch: Sky Sports

View the latest World Cup qualifying odds

All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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Author

Warren Barner