Wales v Republic of Ireland, World Cup 2018 qualifier

Arnold Nichols
October 10, 2017

Wales and the Republic of Ireland will battle it out at the World Cup qualifiers tonight.

Wales will once again be without the injured Gareth Bale, who watched his team-mates train at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday.

Wales are now second in Group D, with the Republic behind them by just one point. If both the Wales and Croatia games are draws and the Croatia game has one more goal (say 1-1 against 0-0) then Croatia will qualify for the play-offs ahead of Wales on fair play.

Slovakia will be guaranteed a play-off place if one of Wales or Croatia draw on Monday night.

Ireland are now a point and place behind Wales in Group D with Serbia topping the table.

Wales play Georgia on Friday 6th October, followed three days later by tonight's match against the Republic of Ireland. "I don't know about revenge, but certainly the view among the players is that if Russian Federation was available to us and we could make it there, thoughts about Seamus would be very much in the forefront of our minds", he said.

The Southampton striker trained with the rest of the Irish players last night but is set to miss the win-or-bust clash after picking up an injury.

A loss means Wales will finish third.

'What happened to Seamus was unfortunate but I don't think it will have a bearing on this game, ' said Coleman.

'The players have proven this is a golden era, ' Coleman said. Ireland's players can start looking forward to the play-offs after one of the more satisfying nights under Martin O'Neill's management, capped by James McClean's expertly taken goal 12 minutes into the second half. However, a 3-0 win (highly unlikely, admittedly) would leave us in an identical position to Greece in the second place table with the same number of goals scored and conceded.

Before the defeat, Coleman called the current Wales squad a "golden generation", telling the Daily Telegraph: "I fought against it when they were labelled the "golden bunch" before we qualified for the Euros but now they've earned it". That's the trouble with trying to predict this tightest of World Cup qualifying groups.

Wales's 1-0 win in Georgia formally put an end to the already very faint possibility that a draw would have sufficed on Monday.

"We have to try and contain our excitement because we've always wanted to be in these games where everything is on it".

Switzerland lead by three points at the top of Group B but Portugal have a better goal difference so a win for Cristiano Ronaldo's side will see them top the group.

This game saw 58 aerial duels contested - the most in a single game during in this UEFA Qualification campaign for World Cup 2018.

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