Wales are away to the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League as Ryan Giggs’ side seek to recover from their Wembley friendly loss to England.
The Dragons have six points from their opening two games in the competition after 1-0 wins over Finland and Bulgaria last month.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the main talking points surrounding Sunday’s game in Dublin.
Tough night in London but we're already looking ahead to Dublin.
— Wales 🏴 (@Cymru) October 8, 2020
Wales had put an eight-game unbeaten run together before losing 3-0 to England on Thursday. The confidence gained in the last 16 months was evident in the opening 25 minutes at Wembley when Wales dominated possession, created a couple of half-chances and were comfortable at the back. But Giggs’ young side were deflated by the first England goal and will need to show more resilience in Dublin.
The availability of Juventus playmaker Aaron Ramsey is a huge boost to Wales. Eyebrows were raised when Ramsey sat out the Wembley defeat as a precaution following positive coronavirus tests at Juventus, despite some of his team-mates playing for their countries. Injuries have meant Ramsey has started only once for Wales in almost two years, but his ability to create and score goals could be the difference in Dublin.
If anyone needs to catch a break in the Wales camp it is David Brooks. The 23-year-old forward sparkled initially on the international scene, but ankle surgery slowed his progress and Bournemouth’s relegation dropped him out of the Premier League. Brooks was rested against England with the Nations League in mind and Wales will want him to provide an attacking threat, especially with captain Gareth Bale missing due to injury.
Wales could not cope with crosses at Wembley as England scored all three goals in that fashion. Chris Mepham had a tough night and his place could be under threat even if he recovers from a knock. Ben Cabango and Joe Rodon are Swansea team-mates, but they are used to playing in a three-man defence for their club. Does Giggs – who favours two centre-backs – put them together when they have only seven caps combined, or could he switch Ethan Ampadu from midfield?
World Cup carrot
Nations League B4
- Wales 6 points
- Finland 3
- Ireland 1
- Bulgaria 1
(after two games)
UEFA’s decision to link the Nations League with European qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar means Wales can not afford to take their foot off the pedal after a strong September start. Successful trips to the Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria this week would put Wales in a powerful position ahead of two closing home games, as well as picking up valuable ranking points. Wales finish their Nations League campaign in November with Cardiff games against the Republic and Finland.