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Preview: Republic of Ireland vs. Wales - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's UEFA Nations League clash between Republic of Ireland and Wales, including team news and predicted lineups.

Republic of Ireland have to put the disappointment of missing out on a place at Euro 2020 behind them as they face a UEFA Nations League clash with Wales on Sunday afternoon.

Stephen Kenny's side lost on penalties to Slovakia in their playoff semi-final on Thursday, while Wales faced disappointment of their own as they lost 3-0 to England in a friendly.


Match preview

Ireland missed a series of golden opportunities to beat Slovakia in normal and extra time, but the playoff finished goalless and penalties were required in Bratislava.

Matt Doherty's spot-kick miss ensured Kenny's men will be staying home next summer after missing out on a place in the rearranged European Championship finals.

Kenny is still searching for his first win since succeeding Mick McCarthy after drawing with Bulgaria and losing to Finland in his first two games, both in the Nations League.

The late 1-1 draw in Sofia can be considered a point gained on the face of it, but Ireland were poor in their 1-0 home reverse to Finland - Fredrik Jensen scoring the only goal.

After the heartbreak in Bratislava, the Boys in Green now switch focus back to the Nations League. They are third in Group B4 with that solitary point from the first six on offer.

Republic of Ireland's Matthew Doherty is consoled by Robbie Brady and Shane Long following the Euro 2020 qualification playoff defeat to Slovakia on October 8, 2020© Reuters

Wales lead the way with six points from six, having followed up a late 1-0 win in Finland with an even later 1-0 win at home to Bulgaria.

Kieffer Moore scored 10 minutes from time in Helsinki to get the Dragons' campaign off to the best start, and Neco Williams was to thank for the Bulgaria win three days later.

That made it four wins in a row for Wales without conceding, but that run - and indeed their eight-match unbeaten streak - came to an end at Wembley on Thursday evening.

After a promising start, Ryan Giggs's side conceded three sloppy goals against rivals England, who were fielding something close to their second-string side.

Giggs admitted after the game that lessons will be learned from that match, but the damage goes beyond the scoreline, with target man Moore limping off in the first half.

The pressure is very much on Republic of Ireland to pick up the win in Dublin this weekend, though, which should suit the visitors nicely.

Republic of Ireland Nations League form: DL
Republic of Ireland form (all competitions): LWDDLL

Wales Nations League form: WW
Wales form (all competitions): DWWWWL


Team News

Aaron Ramsey celebrates scoring for Wales on November 19, 2019© Reuters

Aaron Ramsey missed the England game due to coronavirus protocols, but he has been training with Juventus and is back available for Wales's double-header with Ireland and Bulgaria.

However, Gareth Bale is out of both matches, while Joe Allen and Hal Robson-Kanu are other notable absentees.

Moore has been a key player for Giggs since breaking onto the international scene last year, but he is a major doubt after injuring his toe in the England defeat, so Tyler Roberts - an attacking midfielder by trade - may have to lead the line.

Wales did not quite play their full-strength side against the Three Lions, with the likes of David Brooks, Harry Wilson and Daniel James in line for recalls this weekend.

As for Ireland, Kenny will surely have to make changes on the back of the trip to Slovakia, having seen his side give their all in a two-hour battle.

The Boys in Green lost Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly shortly before kickoff in midweek after it emerged they were in close contact with a backroom staff member who tested positive for coronavirus.

Both players are expected to sit out this game, too, but the likes of Shane Long, Callum O'Dowda, Robbie Brady and Alan Browne are all pushing for recalls.

Republic of Ireland possible starting lineup:
Randolph; Doherty, Duffy, Egan, Stevens; Browne, Hourihane; O'Dowda, Hendrick, Brady; Long

Wales possible starting lineup:
Hennessey; C.Roberts, Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Levitt, Ampadu; Wilson, Brooks, James; T.Roberts


SM words green background

We say: Republic of Ireland 1-2 Wales

Republic of Ireland and Wales have met regularly in recent years, with the Dragons doing the double in the most recent UEFA Nations League campaign.

Kenny's side are out of form and will surely be fatigued on the back of their gruelling match with Slovakia, so we are going with a narrow away victory on Sunday.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny pictured on September 6, 2020
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