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UEFA Nations League: Wales vs Republic of Ireland Preview

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Most recent competitive meeting:

9th October 2017- Wales 0 v Ireland 1

Match Stats:

  • Wales have failed to win in their last eight meetings with the Republic of Ireland.

  • Wales have never beaten the Republic of Ireland in a competitive fixture.

  • Ireland are unbeaten in their last seven away competitive matches against the Welsh, including the one-nil win over Wales in October 2017.

  • Gareth Bale has been on the scoresheet in five of the last eight home competitive games for Wales.

  • Wales have failed to score in their previous two friendlies which is their longest scoreless run since September 2012

Team News:

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill is experiencing an injury crisis and could be set to give a competitive debut to Preston attacker Callum Robinson. James McClean broke his wrist during training on Monday and will be unable to repeat his goalscoring heroics from last October. Southampton striker Shane Long will miss the game with a foot injury which means that Jon Walters will likely start up front on his own for the men in green. Probable Ireland formation: 4-5-1

Wales manager Ryan Giggs has a full squad to choose from for his first competitive game in charge in Cardiff. Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey will start behind Burnley striker Sam Vokes while Stoke’s Joe Allen will adopt the defensive midfield role. James Chester and Ashley Williams look poised to form the central defensive partnership for the home side. Probable Wales formation: 4-3-3


The Irish squad has suffered a horrendous build up to this critical opening game in the new UEFA Nations League. On loan, Cardiff City midfielder Harry Arter has excluded himself from selection due to an altercation with assistant manager Roy Keane during the summer. Declan Rice, the young star from West Ham has decided to take the time to determine whether his international future lies with Ireland or England. These off-field crises have been played down by the Irish management however when added to the sheer number of injured starting players; it is hard to see the Irish repeating their famous win from last year.

Ryan Giggs will be reminding his players that this Irish team ruined their World Cup qualification hopes last October. The former Manchester United captain will be under pressure to start this campaign with a positive result. This Welsh squad is the best that the country has produced in over half a century, and the Welsh fans will be hoping to exact revenge on their Celtic cousins for destroying their World Cup qualification hopes.

Wales’ over reliance on their star man Gareth Bale to produce moments of magic lead to their disappointing World Cup qualification campaign under former manager Chris Coleman.

The Real Madrid winger is expected to be man-marked by Everton right back and Ireland captain Seamus Coleman. If the Donegal man can negate Bale’s impact on the game, then the Irish team stand a fair chance of taking at least a point back to Dublin. Ireland’s recent impressive away record in competitive matches is going to be severely tested by the many missing Premier League players. Wales have struggled to score of late, but Gareth Bale has begun the La Liga season on fire. The former Spurs man is likely to be the catalyst to reignite the Welsh attacking play which saw the country reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in France.

The Welsh players and management should be expecting to win this match considering the awful build-up suffered by the Irish panel. Ireland will be looking to counter-attack and try to create goalscoring chances from set pieces. When this game is logically analysed, the Welsh squad is stacked with top talent, and they are playing at home. A two-nil home win is the predicted result.

Written by Rob Giles

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