Another round of European Qualifiers is upon us as all teams in Group G take to the field on Friday. Austria will look to keep their lead in the standings as they sit at the top, four points ahead of Sweden and five points ahead of Russia and Montenegro. The Austrians are still undefeated after four games and they will to Liechtenstein for what many think will be a comfortable win.
This round of qualifiers marks the halfway point for Group G. Austria sits at the top of the group with 10 points after wins over Moldova, Montenegro and Russia along with a draw in the opening game against Sweden. Rubin Okotie and David Alaba both have two goals for the Austrians and Alaba, who plays for Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga, is the team’s big star. They will travel to Liechtenstein, a country that is 123rd on FIFA’s world ranking. The Austrians meanwhile are ranked 23rd. Liechtenstein is in fifth place in the group with four points after a win against Moldova and a surprising draw against Montenegro.
Second-placed Sweden (ranked 45th) will travel to Chisinau and the Stadionul Zimbru to take on last-placed Moldova (ranked 122nd). Moldova only has a single point after four games, and a goal differential of 2-6, but their lone pint came in a draw away to Russia. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will lead the Swedish side and he’s in good form after scoring a hat trick for Paris Saint-German in their 3-1 win over Lorient last Friday. Erkan Zengin leads Sweden with two goals in four games.
Sweden has six points and are still undefeated, but one win in four games (2-0 over Liechtenstein) isn’t good enough. They will look for a commanding win over Moldova, who will most likely park the bus and try to hit Sweden on the counter attack.
In the third game, Montenegro (ranked 67th) will host Russia (ranked 33rd) in a game that can become a heated affair both on and off the pitch as the countries don’t have the best relationship. Both teams have five points after one win, two draws and a loss each. Montenegro’s win came against Moldova, 2-0 on opening day, then they drew against Liechtenstein before losing to Austria, and then they drew 1-1 against Sweden at home.
Russia opened up the qualifiers by beating Liechtenstein handily 4-0 before drawing the next two games against Sweden and Moldova. They then fell 1-0 away to Austria. Artem Dzyuba is the Russians leading goal scorer with two goals in four games, and for Montenegro they have a couple of players with one goal. Stevan Jovetic is the big star striker for Montenegro and they will be hoping that he can have a good game.