May 30, 2018 at 7.45pm UK
Attendance: 14,500
Schopf (28')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Smolov (32'), Granat (42')

Live Commentary: Austria 1-0 Russia - as it happened

Live Commentary: Austria 1-0 Russia - as it happened
© Offside
Relive Austria's 1-0 win over Russia as the World Cups hosts fall to a third consecutive defeat just 15 days before the start of the tournament.

Good evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the World Cup warm-up match between Austria and hosts Russia in Innsbruck.

Austria failed to qualify for this summer's tournament after finishing behind Serbia, Republic of Ireland and Wales in their group, but they have won each of their last five matches.

Russia, on the other hand, are winless in their last five games and will be eager to return to winning ways in what is their penultimate match before they get the World Cup underway on June 14.

Make sure you don't miss a moment of the action courtesy of our minute-by-minute updates below.

6.45pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's international friendly between Austria and Russia in Innsbruck!

There are just over two weeks until the start of the World Cup now, when the whole planet's gaze will be on Russia for what has already been a very controversial before a ball has even been kicked. Austria will not be there themselves, but they are favourites for tonight's match given the form of these two teams.

Let's start with a look at the team news...

6.47pmAUSTRIA STARTING XI: Lindner; Dragovic, Hinteregger, Arnautovic, Schaub, Baumgartlinger, Prodl, Zulj, Kainz, Schopf, Lainer

6.49pmRUSSIA STARTING XI: Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes, Ignashevich, Granat, Kudryashov; Zobnin, Kuzyaev, Golovin; Samedov, Smolov, Zhirkov

6.52pmWhat can we make of those two teams, then?

Well, Marko Arnautovic is the headline inclusion for Austria, with the West Ham United forward expected to lead the line for the home side tonight having thrived in that role during the latter half of the Premier League season just finished.

Arnautovic is the most experienced player in the Austria squad with 69 caps to his name, and he is also the highest scorer with 19 goals. The frontman netted 11 times for West Ham in 2017-18.

Marko Arnautovic in action for West Ham United in a 2017-18 Premier League match© Offside

6.55pmThe most high-profile player in the Austrian squad is David Alaba of Bayern Munich, but he is not involved tonight. Manager Franco Foda has named three Premier League players in his ranks, though, with Prodl and Dragovic joining Arnautovic.

Baumgartlinger will captain the team, and he - along with that Premier League trio - are the only players in the side with more than 60 appearances for their country.

6.58pmAustria are missing five players through injury tonight, and they make six changes overall from their most recent outing - a 4-0 win over Luxembourg in March.

There are also five uncapped players in the squad, although none of them make their debuts tonight. Indeed, it is an inexperienced Austrian squad on the whole. with 17 of their 27-man roster having fewer than 10 caps to their names.

7.01pmIn contrast, two Russian players alone account for 224 caps in the starting lineup tonight, with Sergei Ignashevich the most capped in his country's history with 120 and captain Igor Akinfeev not too far behind on 104.

In general this Russian squad is perhaps not as experienced as many others in the past few years, but there are still plenty of wise old heads out there.

7.04pmOther notable players starting tonight including former Chelsea midfielder Yuri Zhirkov and striker Fyodor Smolov, who is the highest scorer in the current squad.

Smolov has 12 international goals to his name, although Artem Dzyuba is perhaps the one to look out for in that squad - he has 11 goals in 22 caps, making him the only other player to have hit double figures from the current crop.

7.07pmRussia have already lost three players from their preliminary squad through injury, and on Monday they will need to cut their roster down to just 23 in preparation for the World Cup.

Interestingly, only three of the 35-man preliminary squad play their club football outside Russia, but none of them feature this evening.

7.10pmAustria will not be at this summer's World Cup, and there will be plenty of teams who will be happy about that considering some of their recent form.

Tonight's hosts come into this match off the back of five consecutive victories across all competitions stretching back to September, having won just one of their previous nine outings before that.

7.13pmThat winning run includes a very impressive victory over Uruguay, while their last two outings have yielded seven goals without reply against Slovenia and Luxembourg.

Austria last won five games in a row while qualifying for Euro 2016, and they have not managed six on the bounce since 1997, 21 years ago. They could achieve that tonight - indeed they are favourites to do so.

7.15pmRussia are also looking to keep three clean sheets in a row for the first time since that 1997 run, although even if they manage it today then it would take a brave person to bet on them taking their run any further.

Austria's next two matches after this evening see them take on Germany on Saturday and Brazil the following Sunday, so they will provide the opposition for two of the main favourites to lift the trophy this summer.

7.17pmAustria's qualification group was by no means the hardest as they missed out on any genuine European heavyweights, but the even nature of four teams in the group perhaps made things even more difficult with only two spots on offer for the competition.

Austria eventually finished fourth in their standings, six points adrift of group winners Serbia and also behind Republic of Ireland and Wales, both of whom ultimately also missed out on the World Cup.

7.19pmOnly Serbia scored more goals than Austria in that group, but crucially they conceded 12, which is double the amount conceded by Ireland and Wales.

Another important factor in missing out was that their three defeats all came against one of the teams that finished above them in the standings and, while they also managed to claim a win over Serbia in the penultimate game, they took just a point from both Ireland and Wales.

7.21pmAustria are defending an unbeaten record on home soil which stretches back a year-and-a-half tonight, last losing in front of their own fans in November 2016 when Republic of Ireland picked up a crucial three points in qualifying.

Since then Austria are unbeaten in seven, and if they avoid defeat again tonight then they would make that eight for the first time since 1996. Even more impressively, if they win tonight then they would record four successive home victories for the first time since 1981.

7.23pmAustria may already be looking ahead of the United Nations League, in which they will come up against Bosnia and Northern Ireland, but for Russia all eyes are now on the World Cup, which gets underway in just over two weeks' time.

As is tradition, Russia will kick the tournament off on Thursday, June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium, although it must be said that the opening match is not exactly a cracker, with the hosts taking on Saudi Arabia.

7.25pmRussia have also been drawn in a group alongside Egypt and Uruguay, which means that they will face an uphill struggle to qualify from the group stages for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Since then, Russia's World Cup has ended at the first hurdle on each of their three previous occasions - in 1994, 2002 and 2014. Four years ago in Brazil they also failed to win a single game in a group which included Belgium, Algeria and South Korea.

7.27pmBy contrast, the Soviet Union only ever failed to make it out of the group stages on one occasion in seven attempts, although that did come in their last World Cup in 1990.

There was a golden age for the country from 1958 to 1970, though, reaching at least the quarter-finals at all four World Cups during that time and recording a best finish of fourth in 1966.

7.29pmRussia's preparations for this World Cup have not exactly been what they would have wanted, although to be fair to the host nation, they have tested themselves against some of the world's very best teams.

Russia are winless in their last five outings, but the most recent four of those have come against Argentina, Spain, Brazil and France - losing three and sharing the spoils in a six-goal thriller with Spain. A draw with Iran prior to that was not too encouraging, but they have at least prepared themselves for the level of opposition they will need to face to get far in the competition.

7.31pmThere is a fine balance to strike between testing yourself against the best and taking too many hits to morale, and manager Stanislav Cherchesov will certainly be hoping that his side can return to winning ways tonight against a team that didn't even qualify for the World Cup.

Defeat would see them lose three games on the bounce for the first time since a run of six in 1998, and that would come with just one more match - against Turkey in Moscow next Tuesday - to go until the World Cup.

7.33pmRussia's only competitive action since Euro 2016 came at the Confederations Cup last summer, where they started well with a win over New Zealand but they lost by single goals against Portugal and Mexico to crash out in the group stages.

Aside from that, their World Cup preparations have come via friendly matches, although they have only won four of their 15 since the Euros two years ago, and just one of those wins came against a team that will also be at the World Cup.

7.35pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes from kickoff at the Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck, which means that it is time for a prediction!

Russia really need to return to winning ways tonight, and the form book for this one is slightly skewed by the fact that they have played such good opposition recently. Austria are nonetheless in good shape themselves, though, and this one could go either way. We're just siding with the hosts, though.

SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Austria 1-0 Russia

7.37pmThis will only be the fifth meeting between these two sides, and it is Austria who hold the edge in the head-to-head record so far, winning the past two editions of this fixture.

Both of those victories came during qualifying for Euro 2016, running out 1-0 winners home and away with goals from Marc Janko most recently and Ruben Okotie in November 2014.

7.39pmRussia have only ever won one of the previous four meetings between these two sides since the breakup of the Soviet Union, with that coming the first ever time they faced off as they ran out 3-0 winners in a friendly.

The only other occasion these two nations have come up against each other came in May 2004, and that one ended up as a goalless draw.

7.41pmDespite Austria being at this summer's World Cup and Russia being absent, tonight's hosts are actually ranked 40 places above their opponents according to FIFA.

Austria sit 26th in the rankings whereas Russia are 66th, although that will be largely down to the fact that they have had so few competitive fixtures in the past two years.

7.43pmIt's nearly time for kickoff in Innsbruck, but before that let's have a quick recap of the team news...

AUSTRIA STARTING XI: Linder; Schaub, Dragovic, Prodl, Hinteragger; Zulj, Arnautovic, Baumgartlinger, Schopf, Lainer; Kainz

RUSSIA STARTING XI: Akinfeev; Fernandes, Ignashevich, Granat, Kudryashov; Zobnin, Kuzyaev, Zhirkov; Samedov, Smolov, Golovin

1 minKICKOFF! We're underway in Innsbruck!

3 minRussia win an early free kick which is swung into a decent area, but it goes through to safety at the back post.

5 minA corner follows for the World Cup hosts as well, but this is also dealt with by Austria as they repel Russia's early advances.

12 minSHOT! Zulj tries his luck after a sweeping move from Austria, and it is not a bad effort at all. He lets fly from range and Akinfeev is worried as he watches it narrowly over the crossbar.

14 minRussia respond with their first effort of any note as Samedov goes for goal - again from range - but his low strike zips a few yards wide of the target.

16 minGood football from Russia as they advance into the Austrian area, but Smolov just cannot take the ball in his stride and a potential chance goes begging.

18 minThis has been an evenly-matched opening 18 minutes to this game, with both sides struggling to create much in terms of chances but seeing plenty of the ball. Nothing to separate them so far.

19 minBrilliant from Arnautovic as he takes the ball down majestically and almost beats his marker in the same move. In the end he is forced to wait for support in the middle, but all he eventually gets out of it is a throw-in.

20 minMore quick, sharp passing from Austria and again the ball ends up at the feet of Arnautovic. He only has one thing in his mind as he turns and immediately shoots from range, but his effort takes a deflection which takes all the sting off it.

21 minAustria are on top at the moment and Kainz as the chance to deliver the ball to the back post for Arnautovic from deep, but he puts too much on it and it sails behind for a goal kick.

23 minRussia have just stemmed that growing Austrian momentum, but it is the home side who are still just about on top. We're yet to see any clear chances for either side, but Austria have certainly looked the most dangerous from open play.

25 minThat said, Russia come forward here before being stopped as soon as they get into the final third. Nothing comes of that attacking platform, but that is their best moment from the last 10 minutes or so.

27 minThe game - and the atmosphere in Innsbruck - is a little flat at the moment. Not much to shout about for either side so far.

28 minGOAL! Austria 1-0 Russia (Alessandro Schopf)

28 minThat should liven things up a little! Austria break the deadlock through a mixture of Schopf and Zulj, and the stadium announcer awards it to the former.

It is a really good goal too, with Kainz releasing Arnautovic, who raced on to the ball before cutting inside and looking for support in the middle. Schopf and Zulj were roaring into the box in support, and Schopf swept a fine finish past the keeper.

30 minAustria deserve that goal in truth, with Russia really struggling to pose much of a threat at all so far. It is not looking great for the World Cup hosts with only a couple of weeks before the tournament.

32 minYELLOW CARD! Smolov is the first name in the book this evening after a mistimed sliding challenge on Baumgartlinger.

34 minAustria win their first corner of the night and Kainz swings it into the middle, but Zhirkov is there to clear the danger. Russia just cannot get out at the moment.

36 minSHOT! Russia haven't had many sights of goal, but this is their best so far. Smolov turns and unleashes a powerful snapshot from the edge of the box, but it is always rising and flies over the crossbar.

37 minSHOT! Austria go straight up the other end and almost double their advantage through Schopf again. The midfielder comes forward down the left before cutting inside and trying to pick out the bottom far corner, but his effort goes a yard or so wide of the post.

39 minJust over five minutes remaining until half time now, and Austria will be much the happier of the two teams so far. On the basis of this game so far, they would be a much more feared outfit than Russia at this summer's World Cup!

41 minAustria have a really good chance to break from a Russian corner, with Kainz screaming for it on the outside in acres of space. Instead it is worked to Lainer, though, and he goes alone before being tackled on the edge of the area.

42 minYELLOW CARD! Granat is Russia's second player in the book for a clear block on Arnautovic, who would have been clean through on goal without that challenge. In a competitive match that may be close to a red, but Austria have a free kick in a good position nonetheless.

43 minSAVE! Arnautovic goes for goal with a curling low strike which goes past the wall, but Akinfeev is there to turn it wide of the target.

45 minHALF TIME: Austria 1-0 Russia

8.36pmThe half-time whistle goes at the Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck with no stoppage time on the agenda, and it is the hosts Austria who go into the break with a 1-0 lead.

Austria will be by far the happier team with their performance too, having created the better chances and looked the most like adding to the scoring. Russia, meanwhile, look like they need a lot of work before the World Cup gets underway on June 14.

8.38pmThe only goal of the game so far was a very good one from Austrian, with West Ham's Marko Arnautovic heavily involved - as he has been in almost everything good that the hosts have done.

Arnautovic was played in down the right channel and managed to check back inside before picking out the right pass into the middle, teeing up two teammates who were making late runs into the box. Schopf and Zulj both seemed to meet the ball at the same time, but the goal was officially given to the former.

8.40pmAside from that the hosts have come close through Schopf again following a curling effort towards the bottom corner which went narrowly wide, while Arnautovic has also had a free kick turned around the post by Akinfeev.

In contrast, Russia have offered very little in the final third so far, with their best opening of the match coming when Smolov had a snap-shot nine minutes before the interval which was always rising over the crossbar.

46 minKICKOFF: Russia get us back underway for the second half, and there have been a couple of changes for Austria during the interval. Florian Grillitsch and Guido Burgstaller come on for the home side.

48 minRussia need an improved performance in this second half. Their recent results can be put down to the fact that they have faced some of the World Cup favourites, but to be outplayed by a team that will not even be at the tournament will be a huge knock to morale.

50 minAs is often the case with these friendlies, it is hard to keep track of the substitutions, but I can now confirm that Grillitsch and Burgstaller replaced Baumgartlinger and Schaub at half time.

52 minChance for Austria to get in behind here as Arnautovic advances down the right flank, but he is held up by Russia defenders. He does eventually manage to squeeze a pass through, but he puts just too much on it.

53 minMuch better from Russia as they produce their best move so far. It very nearly results in a goal too, but a wicked cross into the box from Samedov is just too far in front of Kudryashov at the back post.

55 minAt the other end Austria come forward down the right and a cross into the box sees Arnautovic try an audacious flick at the near post, but it is blocked before it can test the keeper.

56 minRUSSIA SUB: A first change for Russia here as the dangerman Alan Dzagoev replaces Kuzyaev.

57 minRussia struggle to clear the danger from a corner, but it eventually ends up in the arms of Akinfeev. The next goal in this match could be crucial.

58 minAUSTRIA SUB: Russia have brought on their star player, and Austria have responded in kind with David Alaba replacing goalscorer Schopf.

58 minCHANCE! Chance for the hosts to get that second goal as the ball is played into the path of Zulj on the edge of the box, but his firm effort is parried away by Akinfeev.

59 minCHANCE! Just seconds later, Russia miss a clear chance at the other end! An Austrian defender misses an attempted interception which leaves Smolov with time and space just outside the area. His first touch is fine too, but he then places his finish wide of the target when he should have done better.

61 minJust under half an hour to go in this match now, and Russia are making much more of a game of it in this second half. They have improved notably, although Austria still look dangerous too. This one is poised very nicely.

63 minRUSSIA SUB: Another change from Russia as Anton Miranchuk replaces Samedov.

64 minRUSSIA SUB: That is swiftly followed by another change, with Denis Cheryshev replacing Zhirkov.

66 minWorry for Russia here, and particularly for Fernandes as he goes down and stays down after a good piece of defensive work to track Alaba. It looks just like cramp for now, which will be a relief for the player - although he shouldn't really be getting it after only 66 minutes.

68 minRUSSIA SUB: Fernandes looks like he could continue here, but Russia are taking no chances. He is replaced by Igor Smolnikov.

69 minSAVE! Nice buildup play from Austria which eventually takes the ball to the feet of Alaba, who drills a low and powerful shot towards goal. It is bobbling awkwardly for Akinfeev, but he collects it comfortably enough.

71 minRUSSIA SUB: Another change for Russia here as Artem Dzyuba comes on in place of Smolov.

72 minAUSTRIA SUB: Subs galore here - this time from the hosts as Xaver Schlager is introduced.

74 minSHOT! Grillitsch darts into the area before working the ball out to Arnautovic, who tries an ambitious volley from a tight angle which flies off target.

76 minRUSSIA SUB: Yet another change for Russia as Aleksey Miranchuk - twin of earlier sub Anton - comes on for Golovin.

78 minJust over 10 minutes remaining in this match now and Russia may feel that they deserve something out of this match following their second-half improvement. Akinfeev has been by far the busier of the two goalkeepers, though.

79 minAustria win a free kick from a long, long way out, but that doesn't put Alaba off. He goes for goal from at least 35 yards out, but his dipping effort flies comfortably over the crossbar.

80 minAUSTRIA SUB: Back to the sub's bench now as Zulj is replaced by Stefan Ilsanker.

82 minRussia's preparations have been hurt by injuries in their preparation camp, but they still have many of their best players so there can't be too many excuses for a poor showing tonight. They have improved in the second half, but on the whole they have not been good enough.

84 minAUSTRIA SUB: Arnautovic has done his shift tonight - the West Ham man is replaced by Deni Alar.

86 minThe vastly-experienced Ignashevich goes down and needs a bit of treatment here, seemingly after a clash with his own player. Russia will hope that is nothing serious.

88 minA Mexican wave is making its way around the Tivoli Stadium at the moment as the Austrian fans celebrate what looks like being another victory under Franco Foda - this would be four in four for the manager.

90 minThere will be three minutes of added time at the end of this match.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Austria 1-0 Russia

9.43pmWorrying signs for Russia just 15 days before they get their home World Cup underway, then, as they put in a rather tepid and flat performance en route to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Austria - who on tonight's basis may have actually been able to do something at this summer's tournament had they qualified.

Alessandro Schopf's first-half goal proved to be the only one of the game, and while Russia improved in the second half, it was a deserved win for Austria. Russia need to improve drastically if they are to avoid an early World Cup exit on home soil next month!

9.45pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening!

Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's match as Russia's losing run extends to three and winless streak stretches to six with just one more game to go until the World Cup. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for plenty more World Cup warm-up games over the coming days!

From me, though, its is goodbye for now!

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