Our prediction for this Nations League match:
The match at Cardiff City Stadium will be the first competitive game in charge for the new Wales manager and a Manchester United legend, Ryan Giggs. He will be taking on an experienced Martin O’Neill who’s been the manager of the Republic of Ireland since 2013. The two teams have met each other 15 times before, with Wales winning 5 and Ireland 6 games. But, the Welsh haven’t actually beaten the Irish since 1992. The last time they played was in the qualifying rounds for the 2018 World Cup, where the one goal scored in both games was enough to secure the Irish second place in the group and send them to the playoffs. The Welsh have announced the squad for the first two games of the League of Nations and there are no surprises. The Irish will probably field the same team that beat USA in a friendly back in June. We favor Wales to win in front of their home crowd.
Highlighted Player (Gareth Bale):
Gareth Bale is a Welsh footballer who plays for Real Madrid as a winger. “Bailo” was born in Cardiff on 16 July, 1989 and, as expected, he played for his home-town club Cardiff Civil Service at the start of his youth career. He moved to Southampton’s football academy in 1999 and he made a great progress during his spell with the Saints.
Bale made 40 league appearances for the first team and it has to be noted that he played as a full back at the start of his senior career. In 2007 he signed a contract with Tottenham Hotspur and he was producing thrilling performances with the White Hart Lane outfit from 2007 to 2013. Real Madrid chiefs did well to sign him on 1 September, 2013 for a fee of €91 million.
The Welsh winger won two Champions League trophies with los Blancos (2013/2014, 2015/2016) and, speaking of his international career, he made it to the European Championship finals with Wales. The Welsh ace scored three goals at the showpiece tournament in France as the Dragons reached the semi-final.
Highlighted Team (Ireland):
Competing as an independent entity since 1953, Republic of Ireland have struggled to match the world’s best national teams ever since, although they did achieve several respectable results on the road. Their best ever result, the 1990 World Cup quarter-final, was achieved with a big smile from Lady Luck seeing that the Irish reached the last eight without winning a single match.
They have since reached the last 16 stage at the 1994 and 2002 tournaments, while only qualifying for three European Championship finals (1988, 2012, 2016). The Irish were in the top 10 of the FIFA Rankings in 1993 and 1994, but have failed to repeat the success in the next twenty odd years, and it appears they are no closer to bridging the gap behind European powerhouses.
Robbie Keane holds the record for most national team caps and goals at the same time, having bagged 67 in 143 appearances, whereas Niall Quinn, Steve Staunton, Damien Duff, Tony Cascarino and Don Givens are some of the other star players.