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Ireland v Wales : Nations League : PRE MATCH
Sunday, 11th Oct 2020 09:02

Today Ireland look to get some pride back as they take on Wales in the nations league. Wales have been relatively successful in recent times against Ireland and although they have qualified for UEFA 2020, now in 2021, manager Ryan Giggs knows victories increase status in the world of International football. Watch the game today from 2pm on Sky Sports Football.

The Nations League certainly carries less weight as far as 2022 World Cup qualification than it did for Euro 2020. There are only 13 spots available for UEFA countries in Qatar, ten of those going to the group winners through the traditional qualifying structure, with the ten runners-up progressing to the play-offs as per usual.

However, there will in fact be 12 teams contesting those play-offs, as the two best ranked Nations League teams who - and this is the crucial bit - finish outside the top-two in the traditional qualification group will join those 10 runners-up. Thereafter, they are divided into three groups of four, with one team emerging from each group or 'path' via one-legged semi-final and finals, as per the system that has just seen Ireland flounder.

Got that?

It seems remote, given their poor start, that Ireland will be able to avail of those two-best Nations League places. Given they're in League B, the best ranking they can achieve is 17th, though it's possible this would be enough if all the League A teams sail through via the traditional qualification route.

Now thanks to Swansea Independent, you are still as confused about all this as we are.

For Wales Aaron Ramsey returns which pleases Giggs On his most recent appearance, he scored both goals as Wales beat Hungary 2-0 to qualify for Euro 2020, which as we mentioned has since been postponed until next summer because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Wales manager Ryan Giggs said: "Aaron brings that experience first and foremost - we have a young squad - and he brings that something different that can unlock defences. "He's got that ability to make the difference, which he did in our last qualifier against Hungary with his two goals." The Republic will be familiar foes for Wales as this will be a fifth meeting between the teams in three years, with a sixth to follow in Cardiff next month.

Wales did the double over the Irish in the previous instalment of the Nations League.

Thursdays defeat to Slovakia will be hurting the Irish squad. The Republic were beaten 4-2 in a shootout following a 0-0 draw, in the process missing out on a final showdown with neighbours Northern Ireland and the chance to play in a third successive European Championship, with Dublin one of the host cities next summer. "All the players are very proud to play for Ireland and they're hurting at the moment," said Manager Stephen Kenny. "It's a huge disappointment to lose in the manner that we did because the players were excellent. "There's more to come from them."

Back to Wales and with Kiefer Moore fighting injury picked up against England, we could yet again see Tyler Roberts getting a chance. Chris Mepham who didn’t have the best of games against England is also a doubt.

Today’s game may just be another reason to dislike international breaks, on the face of it the fixture could easily be downgraded to a friendly in Wales followers opinions. However, it’s important to continue the exciting form the first team has maintained for quite a while.

Match facts

Wales have been victorious in each of their previous two Nations League matches against Republic of Ireland, winning 4-1 at home and 1-0 away in 2018.

Republic of Ireland have not lost three consecutive games against Wales since a run of four defeats between 1960 and 1986

Wales are unbeaten in seven competitive games (five wins, two draws), winning each of the last four. They last won five in a row courtesy of a streak between October 2001 and March 2003 under Mark Hughes

The Republic of Ireland are now without a win in seven competitive games (five draws, two losses). Only once before have they endured a longer such run, with a run of 14 ending in October 1972

Wales have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four competitive games, after registering just two shutouts in their 11 such games before that. They last strung together five competitive clean sheets in a row in September 2015

Each of the Republic of Ireland's last 11 goals (including own goals) have been scored by different players, in a run going back to June 2019

In their six games in the Nations League, only two Ireland players have scored - Shane Duffy against Bulgaria and Shaun Williams against Wales

Follow the Matchday thread here

Photo: Action Images

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