Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Noel King 'optimistic' ahead of Republic of Ireland U21s clash against Israel

Republic of Ireland v Moldova, Spain v Albania: World Cup 2018 qualifiers – live! It's win or bust - Scotland woe means victory will guarantee Ireland play-off spot
Angelica Greene | 10 October, 2017, 00:27

Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales failes to qualify for the World Cup just two years later, as Republic of Ireland clinched a play-off spot at their expense.

The game will kick-off at 19:45 at the Cardiff City Stadium in Wales.

It's as tight as can be at the top of Group D with Serbia now in pole position for an automatic qualifying spot but either side can still top the group themselves if they are victorious and The Eagles slip up at home to Georgia, although on the evidence of the campaign so far that is fairly unlikely. Out of the nine World Cup qualifying groups, only the best eight runners-up go through to the play-offs.

Following Scotland's draw to Slovenia last night, Ireland must beat Wales in Cardiff this evening to secure a World Cup play-off spot.

Ireland are now a point and place behind Wales in Group D with Serbia topping the table.

Ireland punished Wales' shortcomings in the final third when Hennessey's distribution put Ashley Williams under pressure and he was dispossessed by Hendrick.

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"I think if you ask any striker and they go through this stage, it just won't go in for them, but hopefully the ball will come and hit me in the face and into the goal and it'll kick on from there". "But as Roy (Keane) said during the week, we're missing key players as well, they're just as big players for us as he is for Wales". However, a 3-0 win (highly unlikely, admittedly) would leave us in an identical position to Greece in the second place table with the same number of goals scored and conceded.

And a win on Monday could take them to their first World Cup since 1958.

Poland booked their ticket for the finals as a 4-2 home win against Montenegro saw them finish top of Group E.

Iceland leads with 19 points, and Croatia and Ukraine are two points behind.

It follows on from 2,000 travelling fans belting out the tune prior to the 1-0 over win over Georgia on Friday despite attempts from the hosts to quash the away support and their singing.

"But if we keep doing what we've been doing, that will give us a great chance of having a good night on Monday".

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