Thursday 31 May
Updated Thursday 31 May 09:47
First Team

Arnautovic assists Austria to victory over Russia

Marko Arnautovic in action for Austria against Russia

 

Marko Arnautovic played an instrumental role in Austria’s 1-0 win over FIFA World Cup hosts Russia in Innsbruck on Wednesday evening.

The West Ham United star provided the assist for Schalke 04 midfielder Alessandro Schöpf to score the only goal of the game after 28 minutes.

Arnautovic raced onto a pass from Florian Kainz, raced into the penalty area before and beating Fyodor Kudryashov crossing for Schöpf, who hammered an unstoppable first-time shot high past Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

The West Ham player was denied a 20th international goal on 43 minutes when he won and then took a free-kick from the edge of the D, only for Akinfeev to dive low to his right to push the ball around the post.

The 29-year-old, deployed in the same lone centre forward role he flourished in wearing Claret and Blue last season, came within inches of registering a second assist of the game on 58 minutes, only for Akinfeev to claw away Robert Zulj’s shot after Arnautovic had set up the Hoffenheim player.

Bayern Munich’s David Alaba tested Akinfeev with a bouncing shot as Austria continued to create chances, with Arnautovic slicing high and wide after Florian Grillitsch’s own wayward shot fell to him 12 yards from goal.

Arnautovic, who now has 70 caps, and Austria will provide World Cup warm-up opposition for Germany and Brazil over the coming days.

Germany are welcomed to the Worthersee-Stadion in Klagenfurt on Saturday 2 June. The game will be shown live in the UK by BT Sport 2, with kick-off at 4.45pm.

Five-times World Cup winners Brazil will be the visitors to the Ernst Happel Stadion in Arnautovic’s home city of Vienna on Sunday 10 June.

He has faced Germany three times, losing all three, but scoring once and assisting twice in those matches, and tackled Brazil once, but the South Americans ran out 2-1 winners in Vienna in November 2014.

Austria missed out on qualification for the World Cup themselves, finishing fourth in a group that also contained qualifiers Serbia, Republic of Ireland and Wales.

*Cheikhou Kouyate and Senegal begin their World Cup preparations with a friendly in Luxembourg on Thursday evening.