Compare And Contrast At Under 21 Level
Updated Saturday, 5th September 2009
Scotland could well have to up their game when they meet Austria today if they want to stay top of Group 10. A slightly different prospect than Albania.
Scotland Under-21 boss Billy Stark believes today's European Championship qualifier in Austria will give him his first real clue as to the chances of his charges' reaching the 2011 finals. The young Scots sit atop of Group 10 thanks to expected wins in their double-header against Albania. Today's hosts, meanwhile, lost their opening game against Belarus last month. However, Stark is not trying to compare the standards of the opposition as they could hardly be more different. He knows the game in Maria Enzersdorf will be a more accurate barometer of where Scotland currently stand.
He said: "It will give us a better idea, yes. I think the campaign lasts over a year and a half, so I don't think you can make any definitive judgment on any one game. We've got a good start and we're actually a quarter of the way through the qualifying campaign - that's the way to look at it. We've chalked two games off with two victories and it's just a case of taking each game and trying to get points out of it and see where that takes us."
Stark watched the Belarus-Austria game and was impressed with the quality of teams on display. He said: "They're both seeded above us of course and particularly tough when you're going to their home territory. We're not under any illusions over how difficult it's going to be but, having the two victories on the board, we can go into it with a bit of confidence."
Stark considers Austria to be a side of talent in depth without a weak area but they do not possess an individual star who needs to be paid particular attention. He said: "They're a strong team and they work very hard as a team. I would say their style is not dissimilar to ours. They try to press the ball, they try to keep good possession, and they don't hang about too much. They try to penetrate you as often as they can. I wouldn't say they have any real star players but they have a good standard of player throughout the team, so that makes it difficult."
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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