The first opponent that we will look at in Austria’s quest for heading to Brazil in 2014 is the tiny Faroe Islands. These islands have a history with the Austrians, as their first international victory was by a 1-0 scoreline in the Faroes in a Euro 1992 Qualifier. That match was the first of four times the 2 nations have met, and the only victories the islands have collected.
The Faroes have gradually improved, but with a population that is 34 and a half times smaller than Vienna, the team is not a challenger for winning this group. Their hope is to play the role of spoiler and they have come close recently, especially at home. In their Euro 2012 qualifying group, they grabbed 4 points, getting a draw against Northern Ireland and winning against Estonia, both at home. That doesn’t take into account the narrow 1-0 defeat they suffered at home to Italy, where they hit the woodwork twice.
In the 2010 World Cup Qualifying, the Faroes also collected 4 points, getting the draw against Austria at home, and collecting a win at home to Lithuania. Their matches at home were tight, with only the match against group winners Serbia being more than 1 goal difference. Again the team came within a goal of knocking off a major nation, losing 1-0 at home against France.
The two nations will meet for the first time in matchday 5 on March 13, 2013 in Austria. The return leg will be on the final matchday on October 15, 2013.
The Faroe Islands are one of the minnows in the group (with Kazakhstan being the other) and as such nothing but 6 points from these matches will be acceptable. It’s going to take a complete campaign for the Austrians to reach Brazil, and to slip up against this team would not give much hope for the rest of the matches. Ideally you’d love to see multiple goal victories, but the opposition’s success at home leads me to believe that a win will be hard fought on the Islands.
In other news…
Martin Harnik has notched 17 goals this season for Stuttgart helping the Swabians to reach the European places. With 2 matches left, they currently sit in 5th place. They are at least assured of finishing in the Europa League places, but if they win out (at Bayern Munich, and then against Wolfsburg), while Borussia Mochengladbach loses both of their remaining matches (home to Augsburg, and then at Mainz), then they would qualify for the Champions League playoff round. I don’t personally see that happening but it’s good to see Stuttgart back near the top of the table.
With 5 matches left in the Austrian Bundesliga season, very little is decided in terms of final positioning. All the way down to 7th place Innsbruck is 10 points behind current leaders RB Salzburg, and a mere 2 points from the European qualification slots. I think as the season wears down you’ll see more draws, as making small mistakes could cause teams to slide down the table.
The History between the Faroe Islands and Austria (4 matches)
Date Location Result Scoreline
|12/09/1990||Landskrona, FI||Faroes||1:0 (0:0)|