Wales, Ireland in winner-takes-all duel

Tuesday, 10 Oct, 2017

Hello and welcome to our live online coverage and score from Cardiff as Martin O' Neil takes his Republic of Ireland side to Wales in a crucial win-or-bust closing game of the 2018 Road to Russian Federation campaign.

Julen Lopetegui's side now boast a goal difference advantage of 17 over the Italians who need just a point from their game against Macedonia to guarantee a top-two finish and a place in the play-offs. A win can also mean top spot should Serbia draw with (combined with an emphatic Ireland win) or lose to Georgia.

Manager King said: "We go into the game full of confidence".

The game against Moldova was always going to be about the result only, with anything other than three points sure to end Ireland's hopes.

But what they don't know is whether a win will even be enough.

Ireland gradually began to see more of the ball and they threatened for the first time in the 17th minute.

Having the Welsh midfielder come back to north London in good spirits and fine fettle would probably help Arsenal, but I just wonder what the longer term effects might be.

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Scotland's hopes of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time in 20 years were dashed in Ljubljana, with Slovakia snatching the play-off place on goal difference with a 3-0 win against Malta.

Republic of Ireland team is boosted by the return of players Robbie Brady and James McClean who were in the suspension but Shane Long is ruled out of the squad due to the injury.

Despite a nerve-wracking ending at the home of Cardiff City Football Club with five additional minutes played, Ireland held on to seal a result which will keep the Irish contingent in the Welsh capital celebrating long into the night.

"But two lapses of concentration have cost us", said Griffiths. When we get off to a decent start (in qualifying), the mindset changes a little bit in terms of points.

Ramsey saw a late strike drift into the arms of Randolph as Wales failed to issue a response and Ireland celebrated getting their name into the hat for next Tuesday's play-off draw.

"They had a couple of long-distance shots, but I felt we were comfortable and we dealt with everything".