Austria vs Uruguay
5 March 2014
Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt
Unofficial Football World Champions Uruguay travel to Austria on Wednesday for their latest defence of the UFWC title. Uruguay have been UFWC champions since October, when they took the title for Argentina. Austria haven’t been unofficial champions since 1968. Their last UFWC challenge was more than ten years ago, in October 2003. This World Cup warm-up friendly in Klagenfurt now attains much more significance as a UFWC title match.
Austria are ranked 15th in the UFWC all-time rankings, having won 12 UFWC title matches. By comparison, Uruguay are ranked 11th with 15 wins. Austria were the first team from outside of the British Isles to win the UFWC title, thrashing Scotland 5-0 in 1931 under the leadership of brilliant coach Hugo Meisl, and with a “Wunderteam” featuring UFWC hall-of-famer Matthias Sindelar.
Austria’s last UFWC win was in 1968 against Cyprus. That championship reign included a bizarre match against Greece that was abandoned due to a riot, although FIFA decided the score should stand. More recently, in the early 2000s, Austria have made UFWC challenges against then-champions Spain, the Netherlands (twice) and the Czech Republic, but have lost all of those matches.
Uruguay will be without the injured Edinson Cavani, and that might open the door for Christian Stuani or Abel Hernandez to impress ahead of the World Cup. Gaston Ramirez of Southampton makes the squad, and of course Liverpool’s Luis Suarez – Uruguay’s all-time top-scorer – is the danger man up front. Veteran West Brom defender Diego Lugano captains the side, and fellow veteran Diego Forlan – Uruguay’s most-capped player, now playing at Cerezo Osaka of Japan – is also in the squad.
Austria Vienna striker Philipp Hosiner has been left out of Marcel Koller’s national squad. Marc Janko of Trabzonspor will lead the line, and he is likely to be supported by Andreas Weimann of Aston Villa. Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic is another Premier League representative in the Austria squad. The team’s captain is Schalke 04 full-back Christian Fuchs, recently linked with a move to Fulham.
Uruguay clearly have the stronger squad, while Austria have home advantage. But the decisive factor in this game may be experimentation. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez will be looking to try unproven players and combinations ahead of the World Cup, and that may give Austria an opportunity to take advantage of. Our friends at Bet365 have Uruguay as 10/11 favourites for this one, with Austria at 3/1 and the draw at 12/5. (Odds correct at time of writing but subject to change – check latest odds here.)
You can watch a free and legal live stream of Austria vs Uruguay via Bet365 (subject to geographical restrictions). It’s completely free of charge, and you don’t need to place a bet, but you’ll need to have a funded Bet365 account, so you might want to create one now before the match starts. Get more details at the Bet365 website.