Wales and Republic of Ireland battle in World Cup qualifier

Spain book 11th World Cup appearance

Chris Coleman's side could still automatically qualify for their first finals since 1958 too, should they win while Group D leaders Serbia lose at home to Georgia.

"When you've got someone that good, you'd be stupid not to come up with one that suits him, but it also has to suit everybody else".

A loss means Wales will finish third. "For all the possession they had, they didn't really cut us open".

And automatic qualification for next summer's World Cup in Russian Federation is not yet out of the question either.

The result also confirmed Northern Ireland's place in the playoffs, as the Group C side have a better record against the teams in their section than Slovakia have in Group F.

Serbia look set to win the group, with Wales battling with the Republic of Ireland to finish as runners-up.

O'Neill added: "We've put ourselves in a position where we have to win the game and Wales probably the same".

Wales have now scored one goal more than Croatia, but if Croatia draw and score one goal more than Wales - e.g. if Wales draw 0-0 and Croatia draw 1-1, or if Wales draw 1-1 and Croatia draw 2-2 etc. - then their records will be identical.

Elsewhere in Group E, Denmark were held 1-1 by Romania in Copenhagen after Ciprian Deac's late header cancelled out Christian Eriksen's second-half penalty, but the point was enough to secure the Dane's play-off place.

As it stands, Wales' total (-17) is four points worse off than Croatia's (-13).

Wales are priced up as the 6/5 favourites to claim victory, Republic of Ireland can be backed at 14/5 and the draw is on offer at 21/10.

He assumes more of an attacking role for Wales, given license to roam as opposed to the withdrawn role he often plays in the holding two at club level, where Arsene Wenger is spoilt for choice in attack with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to call upon.

"It was between us and Wales for the last place in Pot five and six". A coin toss, essentially.

Noel King has challenged the Republic of Ireland U21s to continue an unbeaten start to their European Championship qualifying campaign by ending Israel's. I spent so much time in Ireland and I've still got family in Dublin.

Martin O'Neill (Republic of Ireland): "I think we can win the match".

Giampiero Ventura's misfiring Italy limped into the uncertainty of the qualifying playoffs.

Iceland is a clear favourite when it hosts Kosovo in its last qualifier, while Croatia has to travel to Ukraine for a tough encounter.



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