Wales ‘won’t play for a point’ against Republic of Ireland

Date published: Saturday 7th October 2017 7:11

Wales’ 1-0 win in Georgia on Friday night was their third-successive victory and came as a serious boost to their play-off prospects.

But Group D leaders Serbia’s last-gasp 3-2 defeat in Austria a few hours later means Wales can still win the group – and qualify automatically for the finals in Russia next summer.

For that to happen, Wales would have to overcome the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff on Monday night and the Serbs fail to win at home to Georgia.

Even if Serbia do win, Wales would probably guarantee themselves a play-off spot next month by beating the Republic, while a draw might also be enough.

The Republic kept alive their hopes of finishing second by beating Moldova 2-0 in Dublin on Friday.

But after seeing Tom Lawrence come up with a superb second-half winner in Tbilisi, Wales boss Coleman focused on the Republic game and said: “We’re on dangerous ground if we go in with a game plan of trying to soak the pressure up for 90 minutes.

“We are too good to do that. We’ll go and attack, go and score goals, we have to do that – it’s our strength.

“A point may be OK, but we’ll go for three points. That’s the way it’s set up.

“I think it will be a sensational atmosphere in Cardiff and these are the games you want to be involved in.

“We always seem to play other countries who are involved and celebrating – but we welcome the pressure.”

Coleman felt Lawrence deserved the plaudits after working hard for the team against Austria and Moldova last month, only for Liverpool teenager Ben Woodburn to grab the headlines with game-changing contributions off the bench.

But he also reserved special praise for central defender Ashley Williams, who shrugged off indifferent early-season club form at Everton to produce a towering display to shut out Georgia.

“Ash is the captain and he’s a huge presence,” Coleman said. “He’s put in an awesome display because it’s tough coming here.

“It’s not all about Cardiff in the sun, 2-0 up, putting yourself up for a challenge here. He does it every time.”

Wales’ win was achieved without star man Gareth Bale – the first time they had done so in 11 games when the Real Madrid forward has been missing.

Bale will be absent again for the Cardiff finale and Wales hope he will be fit in time if they are involved in the play-offs.

“The last four years have not just been about Gareth,” Coleman said.

“He’s super important to us but we haven’t had him, Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey a lot of the time.

“Only three times since Belgium (when Wales won 3-1 in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016) have we had them all on the pitch.

“But we have a job to do, our team just get on with it and try and get over the line.”

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