Preview: Wales v Serbia

cymru v serbia
Sion Richards

Sion Richards

Friday, 11 Nov 2016, 14:34

Following two draws in October, Wales face a formidable challenge as Serbia visit the Welsh capital for the latest World Cup 2018 Group D qualifying match. Extended highlights will be shown on S4C on Saturday the 12th of November at 10:30pm.

Three years ago, Serbia comfortably won the 2014 World Cup qualifier in Cardiff, with goals from Filip Djordievic, Alexandar Kolarov and Lazar Markovic to give the Serbs a comprehensive victory.

A lot has changed since then and Wales will hope to welcome a few familiar faces back to the team to continue their unbeaten start to this qualifying campaign.

Group D
Only the team finishing on top of group D will automatically qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the second placed teams qualifying for the play-off stage.

Serbia and the Republic of Ireland share the top spot with 7 points from their opening three games – and although Wales haven’t lost and collected 5 points so far, will need a results against Serbia to prevent a points gap opening between Chris Coleman’s side and the group’s front runners.

Wales Team news
Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen both return to the Wales squad to face Serbia after losing out on the 1-1 draw in October through injury.

Joe Allen has been in influential form of late, scoring twice in this qualifying campaign so far – 1 vs Moldova and against Austria. Allen’s form has also been recognised by players and fans alike and on Tuesday night he picked up the Players’ player of the year award in the annual FAW awards evening.

Sunderland’s Adam Matthews also re-joins the squad as Ben Davies has been ruled unfit to play with an ankle injury.

Head to head
Wales’ record against Serbia is disappointing as Wales have never beaten Serbia or the former Serbia & Montenegro or Yugoslavia – losing 5 and 3 draws.

In the last two games between the nations, Wales have conceded 9 goals – losing 0-3 in 2012 and 6-1 away in Serbia in 2012, with both games part of the 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign

One to watch: Dušan Tadić
Dušan Tadić of a Southampton has scored 3 and created 5 goals so far this qualifying campaign – having been involved in all of Serbia’s goals!

He scored his first international goal against Wales in Serbia’s 6-1 in 2012 and the attacking midfielder has now won 41 caps and scored 10 goals for his country.

Facts
Gareth Bale only needs 4 goals to break Ian Rush’s 28 goal record for Wales. The Real Madrid star has scored three so far in this qualifying campaign reaching second in Wales’ all-time scorers list with 25 goals in 63 caps.

Chris Gunter has played every minute for Wales in their World Cup 2018 qualifying games, as well as playing in all of Wales Euro2016 matches. Gunter, now 4th in the list of most appearances for Wales, only needs 17 more caps to break Neville Southall’s record of 92 caps.

Join Dylan Ebenezer, former Wales goalkeeper Dai Davies and former international midfielder Owain Tudur Jones for extended highlights of the game at 10:30 pm Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday November 12 on S4C.