Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

Wales and Republic of Ireland battle in World Cup qualifier

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill tells squad to beat Wales for Seamus Coleman Wales, Ireland in winner-takes-all duel
Vera Richards | 10 October, 2017, 01:18

No drama and no chance to exercise whatever mathematical chops they possess.

O'Neill added: "We've put ourselves in a position where we have to win the game and Wales probably the same".

Elsewhere, Croatia took the lead against Ukraine to leave Wales needing two goals as a draw would result in Wales being the ninth best runners-up and missing out on the play-offs. To separate them, Wales would likely drop to ninth by yellow cards received. We'll get up tomorrow, start watching the Wales game and prepare for Monday. Now we return to the matter for the final time.

The Republic of Ireland is now third in Group D with 16 points and will be looking for the three points from this game for a possible ticket to Russian Federation.

With Scotland drawing 2-2 in Slovenia, Ireland will seal a play-off place with a victory over Chris Coleman's Welsh side. It was not that they were any less raucous than usual, it was just the fervour of the home supporters, including one of the more memorable renditions of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, sung a cappella at volume 10.

As Wales welcome the Republic of Ireland to Cardiff on another night of destiny in the capital 24 years later though, you sense Ramsey is exactly the right man to put Wales one step closer on the Road to Russian Federation.

He scored once and delivered three assists in France last summer and his absence in the semi-final against Portugal proved too much to overcome. They will not be seeded in the playoffs draw, which takes place on Tuesday.

"The lads are in good fettle and they are ready for this game".

He assumes more of an attacking role for Wales, given license to roam as opposed to the withdrawn role he often plays in the holding two at club level, where Arsene Wenger is spoilt for choice in attack with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to call upon.

Ireland could have done with Northern Ireland shipping a heavier defeat against Germany.

"Whatever we've done [in the past], that's not going to help us tonight".

'This group of players have made the difference. "I think we are capable of doing that".

"He's a top manager and I'm delighted he's staying", he explained. It's nice for the lads to get minutes and us to get the victory.

An awkward complication here is that there might be no incentive for either Ukraine or Croatia to draw the game. The game will kick-off at 7:45 PM on October 9. In short, both teams were setting their stalls out to win.

Germany, Group C winners, closed their qualifying campaign with a 100 per cent record following a 5-1 win against Azerbaijan in Kaiserslautern.

That was the least of their worries, though, as a resolute Ireland continued to drop deeper, with Wales lacking that creative spark to find a way through.

The Slovenians only lost to a very late Harry Kane goal on Thursday but there could be well justified fears about their motivation.

Referee Damir Skomina was wise to it quickly telling Irish players to hurry up as early as the 62nd minute but it was not until 11 minutes from time that he booked Ciaran Clark for time wasting.

There is another obvious way in which Ireland could miss out on a playoff place. Serbia won 3-1 in Georgia in March, having trailed at half-time.

However, Long has never been the most prolific of strikers and a 25 game goalless streak bares that fact in brutal fashion - West Ham, then, won't be cursing their failure to get a deal done. Such a result would probably result in a UEFA investigation and can be safely discounted. One would not be enough but would still end Ireland's own play-off dream.

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