Ireland's World Cup summer is now within touching distance

Ireland's World Cup summer is now within touching distance

Ireland's World Cup summer is now within touching distance

Wales have come so far under Chris Coleman, most notably that ride to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, but they met their match here and, agonisingly, could not conjure up another late, dramatic twist in a frantic, nerve-shredding finale.

1845: Good evening and welcome to our live coverage of the World Cup qualifier between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium.

With Robbie Brady and James McClean back from suspension, both players were restored to the team.

A draw would guarantee Wales second place in the group, and could even be enough for them to go top in the event of an unlikely Serbian defeat.

"Once we start doing that, we are devaluing what it means to play for Wales", Coleman said. As things stand, Wales have 17 points and Ireland 16, with a host of permutations possible in the final round of matches across most of the groups.

Croatia and Iceland can seal the top two places in Group I if they both win their games and Ukraine fail to beat bottom of the table Kosovo on Friday.

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Europe's nine group winners qualify automatically for next year's 32-team tournament in Russian Federation, while the eight best runners-up enter a two-leg playoff for the last four berths. "We'll get in tomorrow morning, prepare for Wales and give it a hell of a go".

Meanwhile, a win for Ireland and they sneak above Wales and into the playoffs. We have to do that - it's our strength. Taylor's straight red for his tackle on Coleman in Wales' 0-0 draw with Ireland in March could, therefore, be said to be the difference. In four matches, Martin O'Neal's wards defeated Austria 1-0 and Moldova 3: 1, and also ended the draw with Serbia 2: 2 and Wales 0-0. I've always wanted to be in these games where everything is on it and all eyes are on you'.

The Republic of Ireland is now third in Group D with 16 points and will be looking for the three points from this game for a possible ticket to Russian Federation.

"We look at the opposition, we get a game-plan and that changes, whether he's in the team or not".

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

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