The Aviva Stadium of Dublin is the venue where neighbouring countries Republic of Ireland and Wales lock horns in a derby match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying group D. Both nations are hoping to make a significant step close to direct promotion to Russia which makes the forthcoming fixture a highly important match.
Ireland looking for 4th in a row
Republic of Ireland has been in superb form of late. Martin O’Neill has managed to turn his team into a compact unit and an exciting team to watch. O’Neill’s men are coming off from a successful summer of 2016 which saw them make a notable result at the EURO 2016 in France. Having progressed through the group stage and into the knockout stages of the competition, Republic of Ireland were on the verge of upsetting the host nation France in the Last-16 round. The positive experience from France has done wonders to the team’s morale ahead of the World Cup qualifying process which now sees Republic of Ireland top their group D with 10 points after four rounds. Sitting in first place with two points ahead of Serbia in second, Republic of Ireland will be hoping to extend its current four-point lead in front of the third-placed Wales and notch their fourth straight victory in the qualifiers. Ireland are yet to lose to Wales and their records against the Dragons are there to offer additional assurances to martin O’Neill’s men.
Robbie Brady is suspended for the match, whereas Ciaran Clark, Shane Duffy, Harry Arter and Wes Hoolahan are all injured, together with Daryl Murphy. James McCarthy will be assessed prior to the game as he continues to struggle with a calf problem.
Where’s the old Wales?
The Welsh Dragons were one of the most exciting teams to watch during the 2016 European Championship finals in France, where Wales went on to surprise the entire Europe with their great performances and notable results. Despite seeing their European dream come to its end in the semi-finals as Wales lost to future European champions Portugal 2-0, Chris Coleman’s men lacked no confidence heading into the new qualifying campaign. Wales kicked off their World Cup qualifiers on a high note with the 4-0 triumph over Moldova, but then suffered a disappointing dip in form which saw them notch three consecutive draws against Austria, Georgia and Serbia last time out. Visitors are a far cry from the exciting team we were watching in France and Chris Coleman faces a tough task of getting his men up on their feet again. The return of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey who have managed to shake off their respective injuries will be a major boost to Wales’ chances in the forthcoming clash.
Wales striker Tom Lawrence was forced to withdraw, with Liverpool youngster Harry Wilson coming to replace him. Another Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn has been added to the squad in his first-ever senior call-up, while MK Dons defender Joe Walsh has also been added to the group.
Republic of Ireland is in excellent form, but Martin O’Neill is faced with a selection headache with several key players ruled out for the affair. Wales will be keen to grab a much-needed win over their neighbours, but it is a tough task given their rough form. Another draw for Wales is on the cards.
Top pick: Draw 3.20 (11/5) @Betfair
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – No 1.78 (31/40) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Under 2.5 goals 1.50 (1/2) @Bet365