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WALES VS IRELAND | SPORTS PREVIEW

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Sports Preview

photo: Jon Candy

As domestic football takes a break, all Welsh eyes will be on Mon 9 Oct as Wales host the Republic of Ireland in the defining Group D match for World Cup qualification.

It seems like an age ago since Wales’ impressive run at Euro 2016, which saw them top their group (above England, we should add) and only be defeated in the semi-final by the eventual champions Portugal. Since then, though, Wales’ performances have been ambivalent. Though currently sitting second in their World Cup qualification, Chris Coleman’s team have only won three of their eight games, drawing the other five. Undefeated, yes, but they have failed to reach the height of their game as they did last year.

Despite this, they are currently in the driving seat heading into their game against the Republic of Ireland, given they are a point above their opponents. A fortunate result from Serbia meant that Wales leapfrogged Republic of Ireland when they beat Moldova last month. Though Serbia’s win practically handed them World Cup qualification, it did leave Wales in a strong position to head to the playoffs. A win for Wales would secure second place for them in the group, and should results in other groups go their way, cement their position to head to the playoffs. Though it may not be the desired route, with the likes of Portugal and Italy as possible opponents, Wales proved their giant killing credentials last year with their 3-1 win over Belgium on the international stage.

Though Neil Taylor and Joe Allen returned to the side in their last qualification game, it is Ben Woodburn who has everybody talking. The 17-year-old’s performances for Wales have been inspired having come off the bench in the last two games, scoring and assisting in his bit-part role. Though it will be an enticing game featuring two passionate nations, you would hope that the Welsh Dragons’ firepower will be too much for the Irish.

Wales vs Ireland, Cardiff City Stadium, Mon 9 Oct. Tickets: Sold Out (but we are giving away a pair of tickets on our Facebook page!) Info: www.faw.cymru

words CONOR KNIGHT

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