Euro 2017: Austria vs Spain Preview - Tournament debutants aim to shock Spain

The biggest surprise of the group stages saw Austria top Group C - now they have another immense challenge as they face Spain in the quarter-finals.

Euro 2017: Austria vs Spain Preview - Tournament debutants aim to shock Spain
Austria celebrate a goal against Iceland which helped secure a quarter-final place | Credit: Getty

The third quarter-final match of the UEFA Women's Championships commences this Sunday as Austria and Spain battle it out to progress in the competition.

Austria, the winners of Group C, are the only debuting team - out of five - to reach the knockout stages following astonishingly impressive performances in the group stages. Jorge Vilda's Spain scraped the runner-up spot in Group D, but haven't shown their full potential, which is something they need to change if they want to advance in the tournament. 

Form

Being the lowest ranked team in their group, Austria were not expected to get a top two finish. They vastly exceeded expectations finishing top on seven points, in front of France, a nation ranked 21 FIFA places higher. 

A 1-1 draw with France and a 3-0 victory over Iceland confirmed that their opening 1-0 win against Switzerland wasn't a fluke. Forward Nina Burger will look to add to her goal scoring tally of two goals, as she'll look to catch up Jodie Taylor on four. 

After an impressive opening game beating Portugal 2-0, Spain have fallen flat with two consecutive losses of 2-0 and 1-0 against England and Scotland.

Silvia Meseguer weaves her way through Portugal bodies 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite some pretty football on display at times, Spain have failed to show their quality in the final third. Vicky Losada has looked threatening, but like her teammates, hasn't shown she has the final product in her weaponry. 

Head-to-Head

The first time these two sides met was in 2009 in qualifying for the 2011 Women's World Cup. Austria fell to two defeats, 2-0 away, and 1-0 at home.

Austria and Spain have faced each other twice in friendlies since then in a result favouring Spain 4-1, and more recently a 2-2 draw. These results don't give us a full insight into how the quarter-final will turn out, with the two sides not playing each other for almost 2 and a half years. 

Expectations

Although Austria have started almost impeccably whilst Spain have lost their last two games, the Group D runners-up still go into the quarter-final match as favourites. 

Considering this is Austria's first major tournament, let alone first knockout match, it's an achievement alone they've reached this far. With little changes in their starting eleven, the team has momentum going into this fixture. Spirits will be high and an underdog mentality will help relieve any pressure; this has helped them in their previous matches and is likely to help them again.

Austria celebrate their draw with France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spain will look to put their last two results behind them and redeem themselves to reach the semi-finals, which is where they reached in 1997 and is the furthest they've ever got in the competition. To reach the semi-final would be a big achievement for both sides.

Austria vs Spain kick off at 5pm on Sunday (30th July) and can be watched on More 4 and Eurosport.

 

Women's Football