Wales to finally come unstuck against Austria

Wales and Austria do battle once more at the Millennium Stadium on Thursday evening for the chance to have a straight final play-off match against the eventual winners between Scotland and Ukraine. The hosts certainly enjoyed a better World Cup qualification campaign than the visitors, who finished a dismal fourth behind the Tartan Army and Israel. However, Franco Foda's men might just have the measure of them. Read our preview here:

A Baleful of sorrows

Rob Page was dealt a big blow on the eve of call-ups by the injury to Leicester City second choice 'keeper Danny Ward, meaning Wayne Hennessey, similarly restricted to the bench at Burnley, will be the decidedly rusty stand-in. Wide players Harry Wilson and Brennan Johnson have both impressed in the EFL Championship this term, whilst Aaron Ramsey is slowly making the adjustment back to regular first team action north of the English border with Rangers. Dan James will lead the line alongside Gareth Bale in a very unconventional pairing, with both apt to drift wide. The latter always seems to be miraculously fit when needed by his national team, and he'll need to make the difference once more if he's to make perhaps his last major tournament.

Sabitzer between his teeth

Das Team did superbly at the delayed Euro 2020 spectacle, taking eventual champions Italy all the way to extra time during their last 16 encounter, which is in stark contrast to their road to Qatar campaign, which was saved by virtue of their Nations League performance two years ago. Foda has been roundly criticised by pundits and media alike for not getting more out of a talented squad on a more regular basis, and he'll be shorn of experienced duo Florian Grillitsch and Christopher Trimmel, both of whom would probably have started. Elsewhere, Bayern Munich's Marcel Sabitzer will have a key role behind the mercurial talents of Marko Arnautović. The former's versatility should stand him in good stead as the pace and pressure of the game crank up.

Betting tip

Wales will have the backing of a full and partisan home crowd, and the squad is replete with young prospects and those a few years off their peak. In truth, there's not much to choose between the two sides in terms of quality, but Austria have recent experience to draw upon when it comes to defying expectations. Parimatch have odds of 2.88 for them to win in Cardiff in 90 minutes.

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