February 20, 2018

Wales 0 Republic of Ireland 1: McClean breaks Welsh hearts

10 October 2017, 12:28 | Ken Black

Vano Shlamov Agence France-Presse

Vano Shlamov  Agence France-Presse

Wales and the Republic of Ireland go head-to-head at the Cardiff City Stadium tonight.

- This victory means that Ireland ended the 2018 World Cup qualifiers unbeaten away from home (W3 D2 L0).

Friday night's 2-0 win over Moldova at the Aviva Stadium, coupled with Wales' 1-0 victory in Georgia and leaders Serbia's 3-2 defeat in Austria left Group D intriguingly poised.

- Wales have won just one of their last 11 matches against the Republic of Ireland (W1 D4 L6) and none of the last eight.

Despite a nerve-wracking ending at the home of Cardiff City Football Club with five additional minutes played, Ireland held on to seal a result which will keep the Irish contingent in the Welsh capital celebrating long into the night.

Coleman guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 - their first major tournament for 58 years.

"I will really have to think about it and replay the game again".

"There is nothing for the players to fear", said Coleman.

The game kicks off at the same time as the Wales-Ireland, meaning we won't know prior to kick off whether a win will be enough.

Needing a win to grab second place in the group, the home side took control, wasting two great chances around the half-hour mark, with Taras Stepanenko driving a powerful shot outside the post and Yevhen Konoplyanka heading just wide moments later. Yet it was clear that they would have to attack more purposefully after the interval and it was a beautifully taken goal that changed the complexion of the match. A point may be OK, but we'll go for three points.

Before a ball was kicked this week, Portugal were already assured of a playoff spot at worst and may yet overhaul 100 percenters Switzerland at the top of the Group B table if they beat them in Lisbon on Tuesday.

And automatic qualification for next summer's World Cup in Russian Federation is not yet out of the question either.

Fortunately, Wales were also getting rash in their rush to win back possession and kept fouling Ireland players - which allowed for more time wasting.

Wales have now scored one goal more than Croatia, but if Croatia draw and score one goal more than Wales - e.g. if Wales draw 0-0 and Croatia draw 1-1, or if Wales draw 1-1 and Croatia draw 2-2 etc. - then their records will be identical.

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