UEFA Nations League Preview: Republic of Ireland -v- Wales

Mon, Oct 15 2018

Joe Allen of Wales competes with Ireland's Jeff Hendrick. Credit: Eoin Smith

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

After a desperately disappointing 4-1 away defeat to Ryan Giggs’ exuberant Welsh side in September, Ireland will certainly know that they have a point or two to prove against their Irish Sea counterparts on Tuesday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).

The Boys in Green's most recent competitive game took place on Saturday evening as a solid, yet unremarkable, performance earned Ireland a point against a Christian Eriksenless Denmark.

Speaking ahead of the game with the assembled media at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbottstown, Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill revealed he is hoping for an improved attacking approach to his side’s game after the drab affair on Saturday evening.

“We are at home,” said O'Neill.

“We have to try and get on the front foot and stay on it. We need to press Wales more and the players are ready to do that.

“We've got to be more creative, use the ball better in the final third and be confident on it.

O’Neill revealed Callum O’Dowda will miss the clash against Ryan Giggs’ side due to an illness picked up leading into the Denmark clash last weekend.

Ireland have no further injury worries to deal with for Tuesday night’s Aviva Stadium showdown.

WALES

Looking to buildon their opening three-goal hammering of Ireland in September, Wales head to Dublin in mixed form having lost both their games since.

The two defeats came against UEFA Nations League opponents Denmark while the Dragons also fell to a heavy 4-1 home defeat to Spain on Thursday night at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Wales’ preparation for the game against their near neighbours across the Irish Sea have been far from ideal with injuries and withdrawals dominating the headlines in Cardiff and beyond.

Chelsea defender Ethan Ampadu misses out on the trip to Dublin alongside Chris Mepham with injury issues, while Arsenal attacking midfield star Aaron Ramsey absent due to family reasons.

The most notable absentee is Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, who has returned to his club to nurse an injury which kept him out of the Spain friendly.

Speaking ahead of the game in Dublin, defender Chris Gunter revealed that he is hoping for a response against a physical Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

“Over a long period, I don't think a lack of fight or desire can be labelled at this squad," said the 90-times capped Reading defender.

"We have enough credit not to be accused of that. We gave away goals early and then Spain kept the ball. It looked worse than it was.

"Ireland will be a little more physical, but we have stood up to them before and we can look back at those experiences knowing we can deal with them."

For more from the Wales camp:

Ryan Giggs: 'It's a great chance for players to come in and put in a good performance'

Ben Davies: 'Ireland play direct and put you under pressure constantly' 

 

Referee: Björn Kuipers (Netherlands).

 

MATCH STATS

On their nine trips to Dublin for internationals thus far, Wales have left Dublin victorious on four occasions, the last of which came back in a 1992 friendly at the RDS.

The Boys in Green's last defeat to Wales was the first time that they have fallen to an away defeat against the Dragons since 1979.

There has been an average of 2.18 goals per game scored in games involving both the Republic of Ireland and Wales since 1960.

Notably, on just two occasions there has been five or more goals scored as contests in most recent years have taken a more defensively sound approach, barring last month’s clash in Cardiff.

 

BETTING

Republic of Ireland 11/8; Draw 2/1; Wales 12/5.

PREDICTION

Republic of Ireland 1 – 1 Wales

 

Republic of Ireland

Injured: Callum O’Dowda.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.

Wales

Injured: Chris Mepham, Ethan Ampadu, Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.