PARIS (AP) — Already peppered by shots from Cristiano Ronaldo, both Iceland and Austria hope to do more of their own attacking when they play each other in Group F on Wednesday.
A first-ever European Championship win for either country should earn a spot in the round of 16.
Iceland can advance as group winner, runner-up or as one of the best third-place teams, and a third straight draw might be enough.
One point is no good for the Austrians, who must win to have any hope of staying in France — and that means scoring its first goal of Euro 2016.
After starting with a 2-0 loss against Hungary, Austria had few chances in a 0-0 draw with Portugal on Saturday. That result was preserved when Ronaldo sent a late penalty kick against the post, one of his tally of 11 out of Portugal’s 23 shots or headers at standout goalkeeper Robert Almer.
“Against Portugal we showed that we are strong defensively,” Austria forward Marko Arnautovic said. “Now against Iceland we have to show that we can be just as good going forward.”
Iceland has little fear of being under attack after also absorbing 11 Ronaldo attempts on goal in a 1-1 draw that was its major tournament debut.
A second 1-1 draw against Hungary felt like a win wasted in Marseille after Birkir Saevarsson’s 88th-minute own-goal.
“We will hopefully be a bit cooler on the ball than we have been in the last games,” Iceland winger Johann Gudmundsson said. “(Austria) of course have a good side, but we also have a superb one. We are going there to pick up the three points, nothing else is on offer.”
Ahead of Euro 2016, Austria was the likely favorite at Stade de France after winning nine of 10 matches in qualifying.
Predictions count for little in a Group F that has been turned upside down with Hungary leading with four points, and Iceland following with two.
“You can win against everybody but you also lose against everybody,” Austria midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger said. “You cannot predict anything. The differences are so small and every game is like really close.”
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