Preview: Republic of Ireland v Wales

Iwerddon v Cymru
Sion Richards

Sion Richards

Friday, 24 Mar 2017, 16:38

Chris Coleman’s men will travel to Dublin for the group D 2018 World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland this Friday (24/03/17). Sgorio will broadcast the game live from the Aviva Stadium at 19:15 with kick off at 19:45.

Although Wales have not lost in their World Cup qualifying campaign they have only picked up six points after three successive draws – with Coleman’s side now third in their qualifying group.

Their opponents this Friday, The Republic of Ireland top the Group after three successive victories – picking up ten points from their four opening games.

Wales will need a positive result at the Aviva on Friday night to gain ground on group D’s front runners – and hold on to any hope of progressing to next year’s World Cup.

Only the group winners will automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia – and finishing second will not automatically qualify for a place in the play-offs.

UEFA, the European football governing body have nine qualifying groups for next year’s World Cup with only eight of the best finishing second placed teams qualifying for a place in the play-offs.

As it stands the Republic of Ireland lead the group, but Serbia in second place have a chance to overtake Martin O’Neill’s men with a win at Georgia in Friday night’s 17:00 kick off.

Team news
The Red Wall will be delighted that all of Wales’ stars are fit for this Friday’s clash.

Gareth Bale completed 90 minutes of football for Real Madrid last weekend as Los Blancos beat Athletic Bilbao 1-2 at the San Mamés Stadium.

Fans’ favourite, Hal Robson-Kanu scored for West Brom in their 3-1 win over Arsenal last Saturday and Tottenham Hotspur’s left back, Ben Davies will returns to the Wales squad after missing last autumn’s clash against Serbia at the Cardiff City stadium.

Eight players have pulled out ot the Republic of Ireland’s squad due to Injury:
goalkeeper Rob Elliot (knee), defenders Ciaran Clark (knee) and Paul McShane; midfielders Harry Arter (calf), Wes Hoolahan (thigh) and Liam Kelly (hamstring), and strikers David McGoldrick (knee) and Daryl Murphy (calf).

Midfielder, James McCarthy is also a doubt after missing Everton’s last two games.

Head to head
The countries have an equal head to head record; Wales winning five games, The Republic of Ireland winning five and three draws.

The last time Wales won against the Republic was back in 1992, Mark Pembridge scoring in a 0-1 victory in Dublin.

The last time the countries met was in a score-less friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium in August 2013.

Stats
Gareth Bale only needs three goals to break Wales’ all time scoring record of 28 goals held by Ian Rush. The Real Madrid star has scored four goals this qualifying campaign.

Chris Gunter has played every minute of Wales’ World Cup qualifying campaign & Wales’ Euro 2016 campaign – rising to fourth in the list of Wales’ most capped players with 77 caps. Gunter now needs 16 more caps to break Neville Southall’s record of 92 caps.

The Republic of Ireland v Wales, this Friday (24/03/17) with kick off at 19:45. Coverage starts at 19:15 on S4C.
Join Dylan Ebenezer and ex Wales internationals Dai Davies and Owain Tudur Jones for live coverage and reaction from the Group D qualifier against the table-topping Republic of Ireland. With commentary from Nic Parry and Malcolm Allen.