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Wales v Republic of Ireland : Nations League Pre Match build up
Sunday, 15th Nov 2020 10:00 by Declan Murray & Daniel McDonnell

Today at 5pm Wales will look to keep the pressure on Finland at the top of their group with another fixture against the Republic Of Ireland. This is the pre match review from Declan Murray.

The Republic of Ireland has played Wales 15 times with a win ratio of 40%. Of the 15 matches between the two countries the Irish and Welsh have only met four times in competitive matches, In the Euro 2008 qualifiers and the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. Although the two nations are very close geographically it was not until September 1960 that they played a full international. This was a friendly match played at Dalymount Park.

Despite two goals from Fionan Fagan, of Derby County, Wales prevailed 2-3.

Jack Charlton's First Match Was Against Wales
Ireland's first non-Irish football manager, Jack Charlton, began his highly successful international career against Wales in March 1986. Unfortunately for the gregarious Englishman Ireland were beaten 0-1 by Wales at Lansdowne Road. The great Welsh and Liverpool forward, Ian Rush, scored the winner after 16 minutes. The match was also notable for the fact that it marked the beginning of Charlton's controversial exploitation of the so-called Granny Rule. John Aldridge and Ray Houghton made their international debuts in the match. Another noteworthy aspect of the match was that Welsh goalkeeper Neville Southall broke his ankle on the atrocious Lansdowne Road surface.

First Competitive Match Between Ireland and Wales
After nine friendly matches Ireland and Wales met for the first time in a competitive match in March 2007. Stephen Staunton was the Irish manager at the time and the two teams met in a Euro 2008 qualifier . The occasion was hugely significant as it was the first ever international soccer match played at Croke Park. Lansdowne Road was under re-development at the time and the GAA had magnanimously and generously agreed to make Croke Park available for FAI international matches. Ireland won the match courtesy of a 39th minute from the controversial Stephen Ireland. The return match in Wales was played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. It was Ireland's final match of that Euro qualification campaign. The match ended up as a 2-2 draw. The match was a dead rubber as neither team could have qualified for the finals in Portugal in 2008. Two goals from Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle were cancelled out by a brace of goals from Jason Koumas including a last minute penalty.

Daniel McDonnell writes -
Nations League motivation

Wales have 10 points from 12 in the UEFA Nations League, yet have scored just three goals.
If they can top their group, they will start World Cup qualifying next year knowing they have an excellent chance of a playoff even if they struggle. Hence, their desire to press on and win this. It's worth noting that all four of their games have been 0-0 with 10 minutes remaining but they nabbed late winners against Bulgaria (twice) and away to Finland. The Ireland game was the exception where they couldn't strike late.

They have suffered disruption before this gathering with manager Ryan Giggs out of the equation for personal reasons. We will know more about the extent of his impact on this young group after this gathering. Bale's return will be welcome for caretaker boss Robert Page; he was involved in the September double header and tends to be tightly marshalled and it's sometimes the case that his presence opens space for others. Aaron Ramsey played in Dublin but is unavailable this time.

Ireland have another motivation. They have to avoid relegation to League C but, more pertinently, good competitive results in this window will enhance their chances of second seed status in December's World Cup qualifying draw although Thursday's results across Europe did not help them. There will be no experimentation here even if top spot is beyond them. Bale was not involved in Wales' scoreless draw with the USA on Thursday, the same night that Ireland were losing 3-0 in a Wembley friendly - an identical fate to that suffered by Wales last month.

Stephen Kenny's hand was weakened beforehand by the loss of Aaron Connolly and Callum Robinson from his plans. Connolly was poised to take over in a central role after the retirement of David McGoldrick, while Robinson was another contender for that position or a wide attacking berth. Norwich teenager Adam Idah found it hard against England.

Let’s look back with Peter Adulades
Wales 4 Republic of Ireland 1

Thursday 6th September 2018
This Nations League malarkey might take a while to catch on but after a fairly devastating defeat here in their opening game of the new competition Ireland already find themselves having to play catch up. To judge by this and the news from Denmark that a deal had been done to allow Christian Eriksen and co return to the national team, Martin O’Neill’s men will do well to close the gap on their group rivals between now and November.

If you are inclined to count it as the start of a qualifying campaign then it was a bad one; the worst, in fact, since the preliminaries for the 1962 World Cup when Ireland lost their opening game, also by four goals to one, in Scotland.

The closest thing there was to consolation on this occasion was the 66th minute goal scored with remarkable composure by Shaun Wiliams after the Millwall midfielder had caught Aaron Ramsey in possession 10 yards in front of his own area and with no cover behind him. It came during what was a relatively decent spell for Ireland but there was never the slightest sense either before or after it that things were going to be somehow turned around. Matters might have been worse, indeed, had it not been for a smart save towards the end by Darren Randolph from Tyler Roberts and a terrific tackle by Seamus Coleman on David Brooks as he bore down on goal.

Less surprising was the fact that they struggled to cope with the pace, passing and movement of a side that seemed to have taken Ryan Giggs at his word when he had said on Wednesday that he wanted them go out and express themselves. Joe Allen’s low through ball for Tom Lawrence to open the scoring was an absolute beauty while Ben Davies’s high and angled one to Bale for the second was spectacular. The Real Madrid star still had quite a bit to do but he did it brilliantly, leaving Stephen Ward, who endured a particularly difficult night before he injured himself in an awkward fall and had to be replaced, and Ciaran Clark, who didn’t have a great one either, in his slipstream before powering a shot into the top left corner.


Bale scores in a memorable 4-1 victory

Being made to look second best by one of the world’s best footballers is one thing but Ireland’s problems went much deeper than that with the likes of Brooks and Connor Roberts, 21 and 22 respectively, thriving in the space they were being given to get on the ball then run at opponents.

Wales: Hennessey (Crystal Palace); Gunter (Reading), Williams (Stoke City), Mepham (Brentford), Davies (Tottenham Hotspur); Roberts (Swansea City) Allen (Stoke City), Ampadu (Chelsea); Brooks (Bournemouth), Ramsey (Arsenal), Lawrence (Derby County); Bale (Real Madrid)

Subs: Smith (Twente) for Ampadu (67 mins), Roberts (Leeds United) for Bale (75 mins), Dummett (Newcatle United) for Davies (81 mins)

Republic of Ireland: Randolph (Middlesbrough); Coleman (Everton), Duffy (Brighton), Clark (Newcastle United), Ward (Burnley); Christie (Fulham), Hendrick (Burnley), Hourihane (Aston Villa), O’Dowda (Bristol City); Robinson (Preston); Walters (Ipswich Town)

Subs: Williams (Millwall) for Hourihane (56 mins), Stevens (Sheffield United) for Ward (61 mins), Horgan (Hibernian) for Robinson (77 mins)

Team news will follow.

Byrne Agency



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