The Ivorians still need to shake off some deficiencies especially in the defence despite their standing as the number side in Africa and facing the Das Team may help
Dragovic, Fuchs, Dag, Prodl,
Alaba, Scharner, Kulovits,
Ivanschitz Arnautovic, Janko
Souleman, Boka, Kolo, Siaka,
Tiote, Yaya, Zokora, Gradel,
Coach Marcel Koller is hoping to build on his recent 4-0 win over Kazakhstan in the Fifa World Cup qualifying Group C to keep up momentum ahead of the remaining qualifiers. Playing Cote D’Ivoire, who emerged at 15 in the recent Fifa ranking, is a worthwhile challenge and could validate the Das Team’s estimable showing off late.
Both sides met last in 2007 in Innsbruck, where the Austrians carried it off on a slim 3-2, although not under the Swiss man, who came on board in October 2011 and has vowed to revamp the outfit to a continental standard.
However, facing the likes of Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Salomon Kalou, who were members of the squad that fell to Austria five years ago, will not be a cheap task for Koller’s men, who will need to overcome the visitors’ strength as well as their spirit of vengeance.
After an inspiring 1-1 draw against Russia in Moscow last August and qualifying the Elephants to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Sabri Lamouchi is gradually gaining public trust, after he was labelled by locals as a fledgling manager in quest of experience.
The former Inter midfielder, who is working as a coach for the first time, says he has the men that can see off the Austrian challenge and that motivation is on high level to maintain the team’s flawless run since the final of the 2012 Afcon, which they lost to Zambia on penalties.
Lamouchi will also be using the encounter to put his back half in order. The arrival of two new defenders Traore Ismael of Stade Brestois and Kone Lamine of Lorient in the French league, is an indication that the Ivorian team still needs a vital touch that the Linz friendly will be suitable for.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Austria have played three African sides at home since 2007, losing 2-0 to Cameroon, beating Cote D’Ivoire 3-2 and drawing goalless against Tunisia.
Austria have played seven official matches this year, winning four, drawing two and losing one to Germany 2-1.
Like Cote D’Ivoire coach, Marcel Koller is taking up his first coaching job with a national team for the first time.
Cote D’Ivoire have not lost a single match since November 2010 save for the 2012 Afcon final on penalties.
Cote D’Ivoire did not concede any goal during the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations except the penalties at the final.
Didier Drogba has declared he would quit the team after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil