Another big night ahead in Cardiff


Cardiff City Stadium plays host to another ‘winner takes all’ night this Sunday as Robert Page’s Wales side face Poland in a relegation decider to see which of the teams holds onto their place in the top tier of the Nations League.

Victory over the indifferent Poles could see Wales edge past them to secure another sitting at the top table of European football where they would rub shoulders with the European elite.

A draw or a loss against Poland would leave Wales at the bottom of group A4. A victory is vital. England’s defeat to Italy sees them relegated from group A3, which could leave Wales as the UK’s only representative in the top tier.

Wales’ most recent opponents certainly match the elite description as a Belgium side inspired by Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne proved too strong for the stubborn Welsh.

At times things looked grim for Page’s outfit as the gap in class looked capable of indicating a heavy defeat for captain Wayne Hennessey and his brave comrades. De Bruyne barely seemed to break sweat as the Red Devils of Belgium took a 2-0 interval lead.

Bournemouth striker Kieffer Moore lifted the spirits of the 2,500 thirsty Welsh fans who had travelled to Belgium though, nodding home a cross from the impressive Brennan Johnson to grab his ninth international goal on 50 minutes. The Forest winger was full of running and must surely start against the Poles.

Despite a spirited rally, Wales could not trouble the scoreboard again and left the field having lost 2-1.

Page will take heart from the result in Brussels. If Wales are to compete at the top of the international stage then they can only learn from playing the likes of Belgium and the Netherlands, both of whom have only narrowly overcome the Welsh in the latest round of Nations League fixtures. This surely bodes well as Wales prepare for their first World Cup since 1958. Qatar awaits in a short time.

For now, though, Qatar is on hold as Page eyes up the chance to keep his boys at the top of the European game by retaining a place in the top tier of the Nations League.

Poland will have similar aspirations though and a tough night could lie ahead.

Already missing established stars Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Ben Davies and Harry Wilson through injury, the Poles must now be overcome without Chris Mepham and Ethan Ampadu who are suspended following the defeat in Brussels.

Kieffer Moore left the field in Belgium with a knock so we may see Gareth Bale – who joined the fray on 64 minutes in Brussels – start on Sunday. Cardiff City’s Mark Harris and Tyler Roberts of QPR will also be eyeing up a start up top. Ben Cabango of Swansea City could step in at the back given the absences.

Sunday’s clash gives the enthusiastic Welsh support a chance to wave ‘Hwyl Fawr’ to their heroes before they set off for Qatar. A full house looks likely as Cardiff prepares for another ‘make or break’ clash in what is becoming a golden age for the game in Wales.

Huge nights for the Welsh men’s team have been matched by tremendous progress – and encouraging gates – for Gemma Grainger’s side as the Welsh girls also look ahead to World Cup play-off excitement courtesy of their forthcoming clash with Bosnia and Herzegovina at the same venue on 6 October. The Welsh girls grabbed a vital point against Slovenia in Cardiff before a near 13,000 crowd to secure a route towards the finals in Australia/New Zealand 2023. Jess Fishlock, Sophie Ingle, Kayleigh Green and the rest of the gang will be eager to represent Wales Down Under.

ProstInternational will be there to cover both these big nights as glory awaits.

Exciting times for the ‘Red Wall’ of Wales fans!

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