It’s almost as if the Group F table is upside down with Austria at the bottom and Portugal sitting just above them by virtue of that old age tiebreaker which is alphabetical order. Neither of the two sides playing tonight got off to the best starts on Tuesday and they will both aim to rectify that situation when they face off at the Parc Des Princes later on.
Portugal or should that be Cristiano Ronaldo had an off night on Tuesday as Portugal were held to a draw against tournament minnows Iceland. The Real Madrid star was restricted to a handful of headers an opportunistic free kicks as they had to make do with just a share of the points
It was Nani who was arguably their best player against Iceland, it was his goal that gave Portugal the lead and it was he who had the bulk of Portugal’s other chances. But for the acrobatics of an Iceland goalkeeper they could have had the game wrapped at halftime
But after Iceland got back into the game and came away with a historic point once again criticisms were levelled at Ronaldo and Portugal as to whether or not they can perform at major tournaments. They seem to look good when the pressure is off but when it actually matters they have a habit of not turning up
Austria will hope they don’t turn up after their own apparent no show against Hungary on Tuesday. They started brightly with David Alaba hitting a post after just 30 seconds but that was as good as it got for Marcel Koller’s side as they ended up losing 2-0 to their former Austro-Hungarian Empire brethren.
Marko Arnautovic was disappointing while David Alaba failed to really match the kind of performances that he turns in week in and week out for Bayern Munich. It was almost as if they felt they only had to turn up and win to beat Hungary but that spectacularly backfired as Hungarian’s team ethic got the better of them
Neither team were impressive in their opening games, something has to give tonight or they could be in serious danger of both exiting the competition at the group stage. You would make Portugal the favourites for the simple fact that they have Cristiano Ronaldo in their Arsenal, If he fancies it then Austria are in trouble but if he doesn’t well then Portugal may have to see if there is an early check out at the hotel.