Date and Time: Thursday 6th September (19:45)
Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Referee: Clement Turpin
TV: Sky Sports
Ryan Giggs’ side will be looking to get out of the blocks fast when hosting the Republic of Ireland in their first clash of the UEFA Nations League on Thursday evening.
With a bumper crowd expected in the Welsh Capital for Ryan Giggs’ first competitive game in charge, the Red Dragons will be keen to get points on the board quickly in their first UEFA Nations League encounter – against Martin O’Neill’s Ireland side.
There won’t be many tougher clashes than facing Ireland at home, as Wales found out the last time these two sides met, with the Republic of Ireland recording a 1-0 win over Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium, as they booked their place in the World Cup play-off round, before being beaten convincingly by Denmark over two legs.
Former Manchester United man Giggs will need to get his side ready for a physical test against the Irish, just like they experienced the last time they faced-off against the Greens, which forced Joe Allen to be substituted early on through injury after flourishing in the early stages of that encounter.
It appeared to knock the stuffing out of the Welsh side, who were also missing their talisman, Gareth Bale.
The Welsh Galactico will no doubt be key in this game as Wales look to get off to a perfect start in the UEFA Nations League. The 29-year-old is in sizzling form so far this season and netted in the 4-1 win over Leganes, which was his seventh consecutive goal in the Spanish top-flight.
Bale is also Real Madrid’s second top scorer this season having notched up three goals in three games for the Los Blancos so far this season.
Another player who will key for the Red Dragons is Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, who has also enjoyed a good start to the 2018/2019 campaign, despite failing to get on the scoresheet yet – the 27-year-old played a key role on the weekend as the Gunners defeated Cardiff City 3-2 in a thriller at the Welsh Capital.
Of course, there are players that Giggs’ men must keep quiet and one of them is James McLean – the Stoke City winger scored the goal which separated the two sides last time out and he could be influential for the Green Army again. There is no mistaking that.
Wales don’t have a great record against this evening’s counterparts and have failed to beat the Republic of Ireland in their last eight meetings. You have to go all the way back to 1992 for the last time the Red Dragons had success against the Irish as they won 1-0 in an international friendly match.
The official for this evening’s encounter comes in the form of experienced official, Clement Turpin, who has experience of refereeing some of Europe’s best games in the UEFA Champions League.
The Frenchman has already taken charge of two games in Ligue One this season and took charge of two games at the Russia World Cup earlier this year – he was in charge for Switzerland’s 2-2 draw with Costa Rica, as well as overseeing Uruguay’s narrow 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in group A.
This will be a difficult start for Giggs and his men, Ireland will be well-organised and make themselves difficult to break down. But if they do pick up three points, it could set them on their way in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, as well as give them confidence heading into Sunday’s game against Denmark at Aarhus, which could see Giggs’ side face a team of amateurs.
Wales will have a fully fit squad as they begin their UEFA Nations League campaign, with Real Madrid star Gareth Bale expected to start against the Republic of Ireland. Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and Stoke City’s Joe Allen should start in midfield – 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu could feature.
The experienced Jon Walters could lead the line for the Irish. Danger man and match-winner the last time these two sides faced off, James McLean, is also expected to start on the left side of midfield.