Wales vs Slovakia betting tips: UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier match preview and predictions

Wales vs Slovakia prediction: Wales 2-1 Slovakia

Wales’ Euro 2020 qualification campaign kicks off with a crunch game in Cardiff.

With Croatia favourites to top the group and Azerbaijan and Hungary outsiders, it’s likely to be a straight fight between these two for second.

Thus, even at this early stage, this is a huge game.

Will Ryan Giggs’ side get off to the perfect start?

Chris Mepham

CARDIFF, WALES – SEPTEMBER 06: Wales player Chris Mepham in action during the UEFA Nations League B group four match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium on September 6, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Wales vs Slovakia: Who will win?

Wales beat Slovakia 2-1 at Euro 2016 and are favourites at 21/20 to repeat that win.

Slovakia are 11/4 to leave Cardiff with all 3 points.

A draw is 21/10.

Over 2.5 goals is 11/8.

Both teams to score is 11/10.

Wales to win and both teams to score is 4/1.

Gareth Bale: Wales' all-time top goal scorer

CARDIFF, WALES – SEPTEMBER 02: Gareth Bale of Wales shoots during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Wales and Austria at Cardiff City Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Gareth Bale is Wales’ leading scorer of all time with 31 international goals. The Real Madrid man is 16/5 to score first and 7/5 to score anytime.

Harry Wilson got his first Wales goal in a competitive match during the Nations League. He’s 8/1 to score first and 7/2 to net anytime.

Captain Marek Hamšík is Slovakia’s talisman. He’s 10/1 to score first and 9/2 to score anytime.

Both Bale and Wilson to score is 12/1.

Wales vs Slovakia: Match preview

Despite the fact he’s been in the job over a year, this is a first qualifying match for Ryan Giggs.

In the Autumn, wins over Ireland and defeats to Denmark saw Wales finish second in UEFA Nations League B4.

However, it’s his performance during this campaign in which he he will really be judged.

They warmed up for this huge game on Wednesday night in Wrexham.

A second string side beat Trinidad & Tobago 1-0 at the Racecourse Ground thanks to Ben Woodburn’s stoppage time winner.

That result means that Wales are unbeaten in their first match of a calendar year in each of the last seven years, winning 5 and drawing the other 2.

Can they win their first competitive match of 2019 and get off to the perfect start?

DUBLIN, IRELAND – OCTOBER 16: Ryan Giggs, Manager of Wales looks on during the national anthem with his team during the UEFA Nations League B group four match between Ireland and Wales at Aviva Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

As for Slovakia, they’ve already played a qualifier in Group E.

On Thursday, goals either side of half time from Ondrej Duda and then Albert Rusnák saw them to a routine 2-0 victory over Hungary.

That was a much needed win for them after an underwhelming UEFA Nations League campaign.

In the autumn they won just once, a 4-1 home demolition of Ukraine, losing the other three as they were relegated from League B1.

In fact, prior to Thursday, they’d lost 5 of their last 7 competitive outings.

This side are certainly not world beaters but they are Wales’ biggest competition for second place in this group.

Will they spoil any potential Cardiff party?

Wales team news vs Slovakia

CARDIFF, WALES – SEPTEMBER 06: Aaron Ramsey of Wales celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during the UEFA Nations League B group four match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium on September 6, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It was abundantly clear that Wednesday’s friendly with Trinidad & Tobago was about giving youth a chance.

Ryan Giggs is expected to make 10 changes from the side who started at the Racecourse Ground.

Wayne Hennessey will return in goal and win his 82nd cap.

He’s only started 2 of Crystal Palace’s last 14 Premier League games.

In defence, captain Ashley Williams is the only player who started midweek who’ll retain his place.

Connor Roberts, Chris Mepham and Ben Davies will all come in to the defence.

Mepham may only be 21 but he joined Bournemouth for £12 million in January.

In midfield, young Ethan Ampadu is out with a back injury.

Ryan Giggs then confirmed on Saturday morning that Aaron Ramsey would also miss out.

This’ll see Wigan’s Lee Evans win his first competitive cap.

Both of those injuries are a blow but it will allow Giggs to get an extra attacking talent in the side.

David Brooks has scored 4 goals in his debut Premier League season and will be flanked by Harry Wilson and Dan James.

Up front will be the main man Gareth Bale.

He’s got 31 goals in 74 Wales caps including 20 in qualifiers.

The likes of Ben Woodburn and Tyler Roberts were impressive in midweek and have made themselves options off the bench.

Giggs will be hoping the freshness of this side will result in a fast start.

In fact, Wales have failed to score a first half goal in any of their last 5 matches.

Can they start fast this time and will that result in a, potentially, pivotal win?

Slovakia team news vs Wales

Marek Hamsik

Marek Hamšík of SSC Napoli celebrates after scoring the 2-1 goal during the serie A match between SSC Napoli and Torino FC at Stadio San Paolo on May 6, 2018 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

As for Slovakia, they’re not exactly a squad full of house hold names.

Their 23 squad members play their club football in 16 different leagues for 22 different clubs.

Three of those play in Britain including Martin Dúbravka.

Newcastle United’s number 1 will win his 18th cap in goal.

Their star defender is Milan Škriniar of Internazionale.

The Italian giants rate him very highly.

Former Liverpool centre-back Martin Škrtel will not be involved.

He retired from international football in November with 103 caps to his name.

Former Manchester City and Rangers winger Vladimír Weiss has also retired from international football in the last 6 months.

His position has been filled by Real Salt Lake’s Albert Rusnák who scored the second goal on Thursday.

But this side remains all about one man.

Captain Marek Hamšík will win his 113th cap for his national team.

He’s now playing his club football in China for Dàlián Yīfāng who he joined in February after 12 years at Napoli.

He needs just one more goal to become Slovakia’s joint top goalscorer of all time.

Will today be the day?

Pavel Hapal would probably take a draw from this game.

Will they leave Cardiff with a point or even all three?

Predicted Wales team vs Slovakia

Predicted Wales line-up vs Slovakia.

Predicted Slovakia team vs Wales

Predicted Slovakia line-up vs Wales.

The latest tweets from Wales pre Slovakia

Highlights from Wales’ Nations League wins vs Ireland

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

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