Gareth Bale: Wales' all-time top goal scorer

Wales vs Republic of Ireland betting tips: UEFA Nations League match preview & predictions

Wales vs Republic of Ireland prediction: Wales 1-0 Republic of Ireland

This is guaranteed to be a hard-fought, highly intense contest.

These two sids have got to know each other rather well over the last couple of years and they are set to do battle once more.

In League B’s group of death, anything is possible. One thing is certain though: A dramatic encounter.

Wales vs Republic of Ireland: Who will win?

This is a very hard game to call.

Wales are slight favourites, as they are at home, at 10/11.

Ireland, are 7/2 to claim all 3 points.

A draw is 21/10.

It’s unlikely to be a game full of goals. Under 2.5 goals is 1/2.

DUBLIN, IRELAND – MARCH 24: Gareth Bale of Wales discusses a missed chance with Chris Gunter of Wales after the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Republic of Ireland and Wales at Aviva Stadium on March 24, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Gareth Bale is Wales’ all time leading goalscorer with 29. He is 11/4 to score first and 11/10 to net anytime.

With neither Shane Long nor Daryl Murphy in the squad, the goalscoring responsibilities for Ireland may rest on the shoulders of Jon Walters.

The 34 year old is 8/1 to score first and 3/1 to score anytime.

Wales vs Republic of Ireland: Match preview

At the back end of last year, both of these two sides had to get over the heartbreak of missing out on World Cup qualification.

They’d both enjoyed such memorable European championship campaigns and are now desperate to rebuild quickly.

This match marks a new era for Wales.

In January, Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs was appointed the new manager of the Welsh national team.

Giggs won 64 caps for Wales over 16 years but this is his first permanent managerial role.

This will also be his first competitive match as Wales manager.

He has taken charge of three friendly games however.

The first two of which took place in March in the China Cup.

A 6-0 win over the shambolic hosts was followed by a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay in the final; but there were certainly positives to take as they were a real match for one of world football’s best national team.

Also, an understrength Wales side drew 0-0 in LA with Mexico in early June.

The serious business starts now for Giggs, so can he get off to the perfect start?

Neil Taylor on Seamus ColemanDUBLIN, IRELAND – MARCH 24: Players react as Neil Taylor of Wales (3) is shown a red card by referee Nicola Rizzoli and is sent off after a challenge on Seamus Coleman of the Republic of Ireland (2) during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Republic of Ireland and Wales at Aviva Stadium on March 24, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Irish joy in Cardiff once again?

As for Ireland, they’ll be hoping for a repeat of their last trip to Cardiff just 11 months ago.

These two sides were in the same World Cup qualification group and that game was a winner-takes-all clash to determine who would get into the play-offs.

James McClean scored the only goal of the game, to send the Green Army wild, and keep their World Cup dream alive.

However, it wasn’t to be.

They took on, coincidentally, the other team in this UEFA Nations League group, Denmark.

Despite a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen, the Danes ran riot and won 5-1 in Dublin to knock Ireland out.

Since then, Martin O’Neill has been rebuilding.

Earlier this year they lost friendlies in Turkey and France but did win their last one at home to the United States in early June.

In League B, Group 4 it is very much all to play for.

The group winners (Wales, Ireland or Denmark) will be promoted to League A where they’ll join Europe’s elite.

However, the side that finishes bottom will be relegated to Group C.

The atmosphere at the Cardiff City Stadium will be electric for a huge game.

Wales team news vs Republic of Ireland

LILLE, FRANCE – JULY 01: Wales players celebrate their team’s first goal by Ashley Williams (obscured) during the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Wales and Belgium at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on July 1, 2016 in Lille, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Ryan Giggs has some tough decisions to make.

Wayne Hennessey though is the undisputed number 1. He’s won 76 caps for his country and has started all 4 of Crystal Palace’s Premier League games so far this season.

Captain Ashley Williams’ poor form for new club Stoke City could be a concern but he is expected to retain his place.

Newcastle United’s Paul Dummett is set to win only his third cap. This is due to a combination of Neil Taylor’s absence through injury and his own impressive form at club level.

David Brooks has shone for his new side Bournemouth so far this season and will join the more established Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen in midfield.

Sam Vokes scored twice against China back in March and has played 9 times already for Burnley this season scoring once, away to Aberdeen.

He’ll be partnered up front of course with the jewel in their crown Gareth Bale.

His hat-trick in Nánníng against China made him Wales’ all time top scorer with 29, eclipsing Ian Rush’s 22 year-old record.

He’s started this season like a house on fire with 3 goals in 3 La Liga games for Real Madrid.

Will he be the difference for Wales again today?

Republic of Ireland team news vs Wales

Seamus Coleman

DUBLIN, IRELAND – OCTOBER 06: Seamus Coleman of Ireland in action during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group D Qualifier between Republic of Ireland Georgia at the Aviva Stadium on October 6, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Martin O’Neill goes into this game with numerous injury problems.

James McCarthy, Robbie Brady, Scott Hogan, Seán Maguire and Shane Long are all unavailable; all 5 of which would’ve had at least a decent chance of being in the starting XI.

Goalkeeper Darren Randolph is fit and available though. He has established himself as Ireland’s number 1 in the last 3 years playing all of their last 20 competitive matches.

O’Neil can name a back 4 containing 4 players who all play regularly in the Premier League; a luxury he has never before had during his 5 years in charge.

Wales’ Neil Taylor broke Irish captain Séamus Coleman’s leg when these two met 18 months ago. He’s since recovered and may be out for a bit of revenge here.

With no Glenn Whelan or Harry Arter in the squad, a lot of responsibly will fall upon a midfield duo of David Meyler and Conor Hourihane.

Duo to the injury crisis in attacking areas, this game could present an opportunity for Bristol City winger Callum O’Dowda. He has looked good for his club but this would be only his third start in a competitive international.

James McClean is another player who’ll be hoping to make an impact, just as he did 11 months ago in Cardiff.

And with the other 3 forwards in the squad possessing just 3 caps between them, Jonathan Walters may be asked to lead the line.

He’s scored 14 goals for his country, the last of which came two years ago in a 3-1 victory in Moldova.

Predicted Wales team vs Republic of Ireland

Predicted Republic of Ireland team vs Wales

The latest tweets from Wales pre Republic of Ireland

The latest tweets from Republic of Ireland pre Wales

All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

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Back Wales at 40/1 or Republic of Ireland at 60/1 to win!