With no points on the line and no danger of elimination, international friendlies are not always viewed as important games.
However, a friendly offers valuable insight into what a team is capable of, as well as highlighting potential weaknesses. On Wednesday night the Austrian national team faces a big test.
Walking out alongside the Austria this evening (Wednesday) will be Wales. Ranked 81st by FIFA, the Welsh may not seem like a very threatening team to most, but for Austria sitting, only 13 places higher in 68th, it will prove to be a tough encounter.
With Austria having to fight for every point in it’s difficult World Cup qualifying group, the friendly against Wales will demonstrate if the team really has any chance of making it to Brazil in the summer of 2014.
Coming off of a 3-0 loss against the Ivory Coast in November, it will be important for the team to build momentum with a win in Swansea, ahead of tricky qualifiers against Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Germany to come in the next year.
The visitors will be looking to improve on their poor defensive display last time out, after costly errors lead to that three-goal defeat against the Ivory Coast.
With inform Welsh speedster Gareth Bale up against them, the likes of David Alaba, Martin Harnik, Christian Fuchs and Marko Arnautovic show the Austrians certainly have the speed to match the Tottenham winger.
Alaba’s involvement in the game will be important for Austria, as the young left back from Bayern Munich has proven time and time again with skilful performances.
His passes and forward runs proved to be the difference in their last qualifying game against Kazakhstan, as his side ran out four goal winners.
Alaba had missed the previous fixture in Kazakhstan, which ended in a goalless draw, highlighting how influential he can be to the national team.
With eyes on the Liberty Stadium tonight (Wednesday), it is likely that if Alaba is on his game, Austria can earn a positive result.
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