Wales 0 Republic of Ireland 1: McClean breaks Welsh hearts

It's a huge night for the Wales national team tonight and they will need the home fans at the Cardiff City Stadium to be as rabid as ever.

Although top spot in Group in D was not out of reach for either side before kick-off, Serbia's 1-0 victory over Georgia gained them automatic qualification to Russian Federation 2018 and forced Martin O'Neill's side into the play-offs.

Needing victory to ensure top spot in European qualifying Group I, goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Gudmundsson ensured Iceland would be on the plane to Russian Federation 2018.

The Irish, who can secure second spot in Group D and a playoff spot with victory over Wales, must cope without the 30-year-old Long, who played against Moldova on Friday and has won more than 70 global caps.

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.

Wales dominated Ireland throughout, keeping possession, putting Ireland on the back foot but always lacked a killer instinct.

In that unlikely scenario, the playoff spot would, believe or not, go to the team who lead on fair play points.

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Winger McClean beat Wales in this must-win game with a brilliantly worked team goal that keeps Ireland's hopes of being in Russian Federation next summer alive.

"The players have proven this is a golden era", Coleman said at his press conference ahead of the Cardiff clash.

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

Israel will arrive in Tallaght having won first time out at home to Azerbaijan before returning from Norway with a point after a 0-0 draw.

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

Chris Coleman, who saw his Wales side win 1-0 in Georgia three days ago, made just one personnel adjustment, with Hal Robson-Kanu being preferred to Sam Vokes up front. If Wales draw and Serbia lose to Georgia by two goals or more Wales will qualify as group winners. Whatever game plan we have we will utilise it the best we can.


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