‘Wales’ – regarded as one of the upcoming giants in the footballing sense have suffered a major heartbreak. Defeat against Ireland in Cardiff smokes off the hopes to travel to Russia for World Cup next year.
Second Half strike from James McClean proved to be the difference between qualification of Ireland and elimination of Wales.
Ashley Williams had a part to play in Ireland’s goal. The Wales skipper gave the ball away in build up to McClean’s strike.
Aaron Ramsey and Robson-Kanu had pleasing opportunities in the first half which counted for nothing.
Wales were on the back foot as they lacked creativity going into the final half of the pitch. Many reckoned absence of Gareth Bale was the reason to not come up with enough of chances.
Another blow for ‘The Dragons’ came when midfielder Joe Allen had to be withdrawn with suspected head injury.
After dominating display in Euro 2016, Wales were expected to go big in the World Cup. Instead they were dismantled before the ‘Road to Golden Throne’.
Wales have not qualified in the World Cup since 1958 and they continue their run in frustration.
With emerging stars viz. Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale, Robson-Kanu and Joe Allen they were poised to go big. Their run into the semi-finals of Euro’s in France gave them major confidence to make it big.
Who Said What:
Wales boss Chris Coleman, speaking to Sky Sports: “I thought on the balance of play we pretty much dominated the first half. We knew Ireland would have a gameplan and they executed it very well. Fair play to them.
“When we lost Joe Allen our creativity suffered. It was difficult to break down 10 men behind the ball. Martin O’Neill has done a great job and good luck to them.
“My players have given everything but it wasn’t enough in the end to get over the line.
“We knew going into the last four games we would probably have to win the four of them, we got three but just at the final hurdle it was not enough.
“What we have done is another campaign where we have taken it right to the wire. Some you win and some you lose. It will hurt for a bit but you learn from defeat and we will learn from tonight.”
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, speaking to Sky Sports: “So proud. The players were magnificent playing away from home at a very good Welsh side. To win on their territory was a great result for us.
“That last half hour seemed an eternity. We had to withstand pressure but we knew at some stage we would have to try to win the game – and we did it. The goal was worthy of winning any game.
“We are in the play-offs. Whenever the draw is made we will take our chance.
“The impression of our campaign? Absolutely delighted. When the draw was made I thought we had a very difficult group. We have come through – fantastic.”
It was a frustrating afternoon for Wales, as ‘tears’ could be seen all around the stadium. Player head to tunnel in disappointment and one of the bright stories of ‘Wales Football Team’ takes a stone cold freeze.