After losing their respective opening games of Women’s Euro 2022, Austria Women and Northern Ireland Women will be desperate to clinch a victory on Monday when they go head-to-head at St Mary’s.
Austria began the tournament with a narrow 1-0 defeat to England, while Northern Ireland lost 4-1 to Norway.
Austria may have begun their campaign with a defeat, but there were still positives to take from Wednesday’s opening game against the tournament hosts.
After Beth Mead found the net in the 16th minute, Irene Fuhrmann may have been concerned that her side were on their way to a heavy defeat, however, Austria put up a valiant fight to ensure that England experienced a tough evening.
As a result of the narrow defeat, Austria will be fully aware that if they are to have a realistic chance of progressing to the quarter-finals then they must beat Northern Ireland.
Having won seven of their last nine games, they will be confident of beating a side that are ranked 21 places lower than them.
They will also draw inspiration from the 3-1 victory that they picked up against Northern Ireland in World Cup qualifying, which took place only three months ago.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland made history on Thursday when they competed in their first-ever match at a major tournament.
Kenny Shiels knew his side would be up against it, with Norway ranked 11th in the world compared to Northern Ireland’s 47th place in the FIFA World Rankings.
The first half proved to be a humbling experience for the Green and White Army, who conceded three goals inside 31 minutes before Julie Nelson pulled a goal back four minutes after the restart.
However, only five minutes later, Guro Reiten ended Northern Ireland’s hopes of a comeback when she found the bottom corner with a precise free kick.
Like their opponents, Northern Ireland face a mountain to climb if they are to reach the knockout rounds, but first and foremost, they will be hoping to end a run of five consecutive defeats as they look to pick up their first points at a major tournament.
Austria Women Women’s European Championship form:
Austria Women form (all competitions):
Northern Ireland Women Women’s European Championship form:
Northern Ireland Women form (all competitions):
We say: Austria Women 2-1 Northern Ireland Women
Although Northern Ireland can expect a closer game on Monday than they experienced in their group opener, we think that the higher-ranked Austrian side will edge out the Green and White Army to collect their first win of the tournament.