Wales forced Austria’s manager to chew on his pre-match taunts by securing a well-earned point in Vienna and the Euro 2016 semi-finalists are subsequently fancied to go on and top their World Cup 2018 qualifying group.
Although Group D now sees a quartet of countries locked on four points, Wales lead the way on goal difference, having stuffed Moldova 4-0 in their opener and 7/4 says they will hold that position once they’ve completed all 10 assignments.
Das Team boss Mark Koller was left a little rouge-faced when the team he branded as “lucky” to earn a last-four berth in France this summer, twice led the Austrians before the match finished 2-2 thanks to Marko Arnautovic’s second equaliser.
Given their hosts had gone unbeaten in Euro 2016 qualification, taking 13 of 15 points at home, this has to be seen as a fine result for Chris Coleman’s side and sets the Welsh up particularly well for Sunday’s home game against Georgia, albeit Joe Allen will be a big miss.
In the same group, Republic of Ireland are also one of the sides to have garnered four points from two games, following up what looks a very worthwhile point in Serbia with a somewhat fortunate victory over a spirited, yet luckless Georgia in Dublin.
Martin O’Neill’s side had crossbar and post to thank in the 1-0 win and, given their rather tepid display on home soil, the Green Army are a little way back in the betting at 19/5 to top the standings.
A victory in Moldova, where Serbia left as 3-0 winners on Thursday night will be expected of Ireland next and it’s needed to strengthen their position in a tight-looking bustle to qualify for Russia 2018.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing