The Aviva Stadium Dublin is where the crucial 2018 World Cup Qualifying clash between the Republic of Ireland and Wales kicks-off at 7.45pm on Friday 24th May.
The Republic of Ireland have made a fantastic start to their qualifying campaign by collecting 10 points from their opening 4 games, especially as three of those games were away from home. Meanwhile, Wales will be a little disappointed with their start, as they’ve only collected 6 points from their opening 4 games, 3 of which were at home, though they’ve yet to taste defeat in the group after 1 win and 3 draws. However, whilst the Republic of Ireland beat both Austria and Georgia, Wales could only manage 2 draws, hence the 4-points difference between them.
The biggest news is that both Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are available for selection, and that’s a massive boost for Wales in what is a must-win game for them, with only one team certain of going through from the group, though second-place could earn someone a play-off spot
It’s not so good news for the Republic Of Ireland though as they will definitely be without Shane Duffy and Daryl Murphy, whilst Everton Midfielder James McCarthy is a major doubt despite training this week. Harry Arter, Wes Hoolahan, Roby Brady and Ciaran Clark are also missing from the squad due to injury or suspension.
- The Republic of Ireland have lost just 8 of their 35 games since Martin O’Neill was put in charge.
- The Republic of Ireland haven’t lost to Wales in their last 6 head-to-heads, with the last Welsh victory coming in 1992.
- October 2015 was the last time Wales lost a qualifying match.
- The 13 previous matches between the two sides have resulted in 5 wins for both teams and 3 draws, with two of those draws being 0-0. This includes their last meeting in Cardiff in 2013.
Republic Of Ireland 31/20, Draw 21/10, Wales 12/5
Both teams got a taste of the big-time in the finals of Euro 2016, and both will be even hungrier to make it to the even bigger stage of the 2018 World Cup Finals.
The Republic of Ireland are very much in the driving seat in Group D though after the opening 4 games, and victory here would take them one-step closer to their World Cup Finals dream. Their recent record against Wales is also very convincing with no losses in their last 6 games.
However, with Wales desperate for a win, the return of Gareth Bale could be the deciding factor in this match, and it’s worth remembering Wales made it to it to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 after beating Belgium, a team the Republic of Ireland lost to in the group stages.
World Cup Qualifier Tip
Wales To Win @ 12/5 (Betfair Sportsbook)