The new UEFA Nations League gets underway with a massive home nations clash as Wales welcome Republic of Ireland to the Cardiff City Stadium. 

These teams were in the same World Cup Qualifying Group with both failing to qualify, despite Republic of Ireland beating Wales here to bag the play-off spot only to eventually lose to Denmark, who also join these teams in Group B4. 

Could this therefore be revenge of the Welsh with new manager, Ryan Giggs taking charge of his first home match? 

 

Team news

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Wales have a full squad available after no withdrawals with Gareth Bale amongst those expected to start.

ROI will be without winger, James McClean who withdrew with a wrist injury plus a number of usual regulars.

Shane Long (foot), James McCarthy (leg), Robbie Brady (ankle), Scott Hogan (groin) and Sean Maguire (hamstring) are all absent for the visitors. 

 

Stat Attack

  • Wales are without a win in last eight meetings against Republic of Ireland (D4, L4)
  • Only one goal has been scored in last three meetings, coming from McClean 11 months ago and he has also scored four of Ireland’s last five away goals.
  • Ireland have conceded only twice in last eight clashes of this fixture.
  • Gareth Bale has scored five of Wales last eight home goals in competitive games. 
  • Wales have only clinched one home win in this fixture from six home games (W1, D3, L2). 

 

Prediction

Despite their poor record in this fixture and particularly at home, Wales will be buoyant by Ryan Giggs’ arrival as manager. 

The visitors meanwhile can take belief from what they did here last season but Gareth Bale enter this in form, having scored in all of Real Madrid’s league matches so far this season. 

Darren Randolph however is a tough nut to crack, having conceded just twice across Middlesbrough’s opening six games of season with both coming in opening match against Millwall. 

Although I wouldn’t be surprised if Wales nick this given their stronger quality, I think that this might well end in a score draw. 

Prediction: Wales 1-1 Republic of Ireland

Result: Wales 4-1 Republic of Ireland

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