Republic of Ireland and Wales heading for Cardiff showdown

Katrina Barker
October 7, 2017

The Republic of Ireland's chances at featuring in the next World Cup seem slim, now third with 13 points in Group D. The Green Army is just a point behind second-place Wales but is five points behind first-place Serbia.

The FAI have a track record awarding managers with new contracts pre major tournaments, Mick McCarthy was handed a new two year contract prior to the 2002 World Cup, and famously Giovanni Trapattoni was handed a new deal prior to Ireland's disastrous showing at Euro 2012.

Friday night's victory at the Aviva Stadium materialised, as expected, over bottom placed Moldova to keep Ireland's chances of qualifying for Russian Federation 2018 on life support. What is certain is that Ireland can kiss their World Cup play-off hopes goodbye unless a second victory in four days is attained. The reverse fixture nearly a year ago to the day finished 3-1 to the Boys in Green and with home advantage and realistic hopes of a play-off spot, there are few reasons to oppose O'Neill's men making the ideal start to this double header. Worldwide football was something I didn't know whether you'd get used to or not, but obviously with qualification for the Euros made it all worthwhile - and we're still in this competition also.

It hasn't been pretty but is a scenario that Martin O'Neill and Irish supporters would probably have accepted heading into Monday night's showdown in Cardiff.

Bale is the most high-profile player in the Welsh side and the country's hopes of qualifying for next year's World Cup in Russian Federation are still hanging in the balance.

Chris Coleman Wales
Republic of Ireland and Wales heading for Cardiff showdown

"I think they have enjoyed it immensely", O'Neill said of the new boys.

"So I think there is much to look forward to". They're on 11, Ireland are on 10.

"I brought him into the squad from the U21s and he's beginning to flourish now; it's good he's getting more game-time at club level, which is very, very important".

In the absence of Walters, Brady and McClean, there are openings for the likes of David Meyler, Wes Hoolahan and Aidan McGeady to win starting berths against Moldova tonight.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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