When European Group D was drawn there was no standout team for once. It really did seem like anyone’s for the taking with Serbia, Austria, the Republic of Ireland and Wales all plausible victors, however the Irish have set their stall out early and head the group with ten points from their opening four games. Can they manage a fifth at the expense of Wales on Friday?
With the likes of James McClean and Robbie Brady, Ireland have found the sort of players who play with the type of aggression that will certainly suit assistant boss Roy Keane. Shane Long is excellent up front and these players have been essential in grinding out unlikely victories over the likes of Italy and world champions Germany over the past couple of years.
The Irish enjoy a commanding position at the top of their group and a win this week would see them extend their lead over Wales to some seven points. Nevertheless one shouldn’t underestimate the Welsh and with Gareth Bale in their ranks this certainly won’t be a walkover for the hosts. Indeed one certainly shouldn’t overlook Wales’ efforts in reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and the visitors will keep it tight on Friday as they look to keep their unbeaten run in the competition intact.
This is certain to be an extremely tight match and the Welsh certainly cannot afford to lose. A draw wouldn’t be a good result for the visitors either and with Austria looking likely to beat Moldova in Vienna, the Welsh would drop to fourth were they not to manage any points. The Irish struggled against Georgia at home last year and we feel that Wales will frustrate the hosts by securing a narrow victory on Friday evening. Nothing less will do.