Our football match prediction:
There will be fireworks when Wales and Republic of Ireland square off against each other at Cardiff City Stadium in the decider. Wales are one point away from booking their place in the play-offs, but a win over the Boys in Green could see them secure automatic qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals. The Dragons head into the match following three consecutive wins over the likes of Austria, Moldova and Georgia and we predict that they will give fans yet another reason for celebration on Monday evening. Ireland desperately needed a win against Moldova and they managed to get one (2-0), but they will have a much bigger fish to fry in the football match against Wales. The hosts will be without star player Gareth Bale against Ireland, but they have been in a fine form of late and home win should be considered.
Highlighted Player (Joe Allen):
Joe Allen is another high-quality footballer from the new generation of Wales internationals, who was part of the team that took Swansea from League One to the Premier League, and he had no problems adapting to arguably the strongest league championship in Europe. Allen operated as a deep-lying playmaker as the Swans impressed upon reaching the elite division, with his excellent passing skills persuading Liverpool to splash £15 million on his services. The central midfielder didn’t exactly manage to develop into an indispensable member of the side at Anfield, but he is considered an important squad player and has always performed well when called upon. Meanwhile, he has been one of the pillars of the most successful team in the Wales history together with Gareth Bale, Ashley Williams and Aaron Ramsey, while even representing Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Allen started five games for the Dragons as they secured the first ever appearance at the European Championship finals.
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.