Both teams acknowledge it's a big game
International
8 October 2017

Both teams acknowledge it's a big game

“This is as big as anything we have been involved in, but we've been here before, and we have that experience,” Chris Coleman has said ahead of Monday’s match against the Republic of Ireland. 

Wales meet the Irish at Cardiff City Stadium in the final qualification match in Group D for the FIFA World Cup. Automatic qualification is still a possibility, play-offs more likely and there’s also a scenario where Group D could even miss out on a play-off berth. 

Nevertheless, Coleman is only interested in what happens during the game, everything else will be a by-product. “We can't control what happens outside, and we can't focus on anything else than taking care of business. We have to do the things that we are good at. We have to execute a game plan.

“There's no guarantees for us or the Republic, and that's what makes it exciting. The players have created this situation, and they have to enjoy it.

“Tomorrow night will be toe-to-toe, end-to-end, and both sets of players are quite similar. I think both teams are going to go for it, so it's going to be exciting. It's a huge honour to represent your country, and that should never change. We're a small nation, but we have a very good team and we're in a strong position.”

Chris Gunter speaks to the press.
Chris Gunter speaks to the press.

From the players’ point of view, Chris Gunter explained: “We're feeling good going into the game and really looking forward to it. Everybody knows what we're about as a team, as a squad and as a nation. We know we can rely on each other. We know we can rely on the fans as well, and what they have given us over the years has been fantastic, and I hope they can make it a really good atmosphere.

“Every time we meet up it seems to be the biggest game. It's another big game, but regardless of what's on the line, the one thing we do as a squad is look at the opposition and have a clear game plan.

“We know it's a big game, but we've faced that before. The one thing this squad is good at is not getting caught up in things that are happening around us.

“We know exactly what we want to do and what we need to do, regardless of who's playing, everyone will know what they need to do. There's no secret in what we do to prepare for games.”

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill recognises the significance of the game and said: “We have to win the game. There’s all to play for. Big, big game.

“I think the atmosphere will be very, very electric. Both sides have something to play for.”

Martin O'Neill looks on as Republic of Ireland train at Cardiff City Stadium.
Martin O'Neill looks on as Republic of Ireland train at Cardiff City Stadium.