Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Rep of Ireland Beats Wales to Seal World Cup Play-off Spot


Ireland, who will discover their playoff opponents next Tuesday, have not reached the World Cup finals since 2002. It's the last game and that's our first defeat of the campaign.

Wales were without injured superstar Gareth Bale and struggled for creativity after losing Joe Allen to a head injury in the opening period, despite dominating the ball. Both Robbie Brady and James McClean will return for the Cardiff showdown after missing Friday's match due to suspension.

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Greece technically aren't guaranteed to finish 7th, but they'd have to lose to Gibraltar tomorrow, which combined with a Bosnia win over Estonia would put Slovakia through instead (and Bosnia would finish 9th among the second-place teams).

The two countries meet in Cardiff still with an outside chance of topping Group D - and with it an automatic ticket to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russian Federation - should Serbia slip up at home to Georgia.

With Scotland drawing 2-2 in Slovenia, Ireland will seal a play-off place with a victory over Chris Coleman's Welsh side.

Wales dominated the early exchanges with their possession-based play and Ireland were very much limited to counter attacks.

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Croatia qualified for the playoffs with a crucial 2-0 win over Ukraine.

While Wales are without Bale, O'Neill believes the absence of Coleman is "as big a loss to us".

The Republic of Ireland is now third in Group D with 16 points and will be looking for the three points from this game for a possible ticket to Russian Federation.

Wales dominated possession in the first half, creating concern among the green hordes inside the stadium and obliging Ireland to feed off scraps in the final third.

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Chris Coleman (Wales): "We're on unsafe ground if we go in with a game plan of trying to soak the pressure up for 90 minutes". A point was no good, we needed three points so we had to go for it. We have to do that - it's our strength.

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