EURO 2016 Wales - Northern Ireland


EOG Senior Member
EURO 2016 Wales - Northern Ireland

Two home nations meeting in France for a place in the last 8 of the European Championships............the script writers have done a good job !

Wales qualified in style, winning group B with a 3-0 demolition of Russia, a match which was over as a contest inside 20 minutes. They played 24 hours before Northern Ireland, who had a far more fraught game with Germany, where they lost 1-0 , but knew a narrow defeat might well be good enough. They battled hard, but could easily have lost that by 4 or 5 on another day and the mentally draining nature of that and a day less to recover and prepare, is a clear advantage to the Welsh. The Irish will feel that having met Germany in this stadium, this will have a more familiar feel to them, but not if they start playing where they left off, which is firmly on the back foot ! In that match Toni Kroos completed more passes (121-110) than the entire Northern Ireland team (!) , they have been on the back foot for much of the time here in France and only had four attempts on goal in two games and you suspect they will be starting to feel the effects. They do pose a big threat from set pieces, which Wales will be well aware of , but have only scored three from open play in ten competitive starts.

The Irish might take heart from a 1-1 draw between the two nations in a March friendly, but they were at full strength, the Welsh were without Ben Davies, Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, plus several others and were still the better team. Wales have the 2-3 best players on the pitch, with Gareth Bale head and shoulders above everyone and far more EPL quality in the ranks and stronger options off the bench and with this the fourth international start inside 13-14 days for both, that could easily prove decisive. The breakthrough goal will, of course, be the hardest to come by, but if Wales get it, the Irish will have to come forward and that will leave them incredibly vulnerable on the counter and Wales have pace and are very quick in transition. Two very together groups, but most of the quality and advantages are with the Welsh and they are the ones who will go home feeling a little deflated if they do not progress, for the Irish this tournament is already a success.

Wales -0.5 @ 2.07 at Sportmarket

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