Austria meet Euro debutants, North Macedonia at Arena Nationala, Bucharest, Romania, in their opening Group C clash.
With Group C favourites, Netherlands and Ukraine meeting in the evening match, whoever wins this match will go top for at least a few hours.
Austria have no fresh injury concerns to report although Julian Baumgartlinger and Marko Arnautovic are unlikely to be risked, as the pair continue to recover from recent cruciate ligament and thigh injuries respectively.
North Macedonia have no fresh injury concerns to report with a full squad available for selection.
- This is Austria’s first meeting against North Macedonia in a major tournament.
- Austria won both meetings in their Qualifying Group by an aggregate score of 6-2, winning 4-1 in June 2019 then 2-1 in November 2019.
- North Macedonia have scored first in their last four matches in all competitions (W3, D1), scoring 12 goals and conceding just twice.
- Austria have kept just one clean sheet in their last seven matches in all competitions, which came in a goalless draw against Slovakia in their final warm-up friendly last weekend.
- Elif Elmas has scored in two of his last three appearances for North Macedonia.
Having hit a defensive rut since last November, Austria will certainly be an interesting watch because they do have players like David Alaba and Marcel Sabitzer who can cause issues for North Macedonia if Franco Foda’s Boys turn up and deliver an improved display than seen recently.
North Macedonia meanwhile are making their Finals debut but cannot afford to let the buzz of the occasion affect them, especially given their improved form which includes a shock victory over Germany in March and quality attack who should look to punish a shaky Austrian defence.
This game therefore should be quite scrappy between two relatively small teams who both know that a win would give them a platform to go and chase qualification for the knockouts, and I feel that North Macedonia just have the momentum and motivation needed to stun Austria here.
Prediction: Austria 0-1 North Macedonia
Result: Austria 3-1 North Macedonia