Live Match Hub: Wales v Slovakia
23 March 2019

Live Match Hub: Wales v Slovakia


24 March 20194:42pm

Ryan Giggs spoke about his team selection and his young stars in his post-match press conference following the 1-0 win over Slovakia.

"It's a perfect start," said Giggs. "A clean sheet and three points. There was a bit of pressure on us because of the other results which we tried to play down. I talked about it all week, physically we wanted players who were playing regularly, and that was the only reason why I left Ash (Ashley Williams) out. Ash is still our captain, he's a great leader. You can see the qualities he has when he came on and we're going to need that.

"Dan (Daniel James) has brought his club form to the national team. He's intelligent, he works hard, and it was brilliant for him to get the winning goal. He's got that raw pace, and he would be a threat at any level. As a winger, you have to develop the other parts of your game. He's played upfront which gives him an appreciation of what service he needs to provide, he just needs to carry on doing what he's doing at Swansea.

"A lot has been made about playing younger players, but they're all playing regular for their clubs and playing well. It's not just about young and old, and they can both learn from each other, I've been in both camps. We have got talented young players but we can't do it without the experienced players, and it's not easy leaving those experienced players out, not easy at all.

"Slovakia didn't show any sort of fatigue despite their quick turnaround. It was nervy at the end, we didn't really punish Slovakia enough in the first half, and you do wonder if that will come back to haunt you. We'll learn from today. With the attacking talent that we've got we're always going to create chances. A couple of times we could have kept the ball better and made better decisions.

"I was happy with the partnership of James Lawrence and Chris Mepham, I thought they did well and the defence set the tone, playing out from the back. We've got two away games now in June which will be tough , but we've got quality as well, and it won't be easy for them either. We'll have a training camp in May to prepare for the two games."


24 March 20194:40pm

Slovakia manager Pavel Hapal addressed the media following the 1-0 defeat at Cardiff City Stadium.

"It was a very interesting match," explained Hapal. "We were very good in the second half and Wales were fresh and aggressive in the first half. We were unlucky not to score a goal at the end. We lost some easy balls and personal fights. Wales didn't have many more opportunities than us. The players said that there was a handball before the final whistle but the referee decided to end the match.

"I was surprised to concede an early goal, and we had a number of yellow cards but I didn't see any overly aggressive fouls in the match. We want players to play constructively, I don't want to comment on players individually. We pushed our opponents for 90 minutes and played positively. We have a few chances but we weren't lucky. In this group there are some equal matches, and today we could have gained a point."


24 March 20191:13pm

The team news is in and Gareth Bale will captain Wales against Slovakia this afternoon.

Follow @Cymru during the match for live updates and check back here later for all the post-match reaction.


24 March 20199:12am

Gareth Bale makes the headlines this morning as Wales prepare to take on Slovakia in Cardiff. Manager Ryan Giggs will be desperate to start this latest campaign with a victory.

However, Wales will be without Aaron Ramsey for the match as the midfielder failed to recover from an injury in time and has returned to Arsenal. 



23 March 201912:12pm

Gareth Bale confirmed that he is a veteran figure in the current Wales squad as he spoke to the press and media at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.

"We've got a lot of new players, a lot of youngsters, but there's a lot of experience in the squad as well," said the Real Madrid star. "I think we're ready, we've prepared well. I'm actually the longest serving player in the team now, and I'm not even 30 yet! Everyone knows how difficult it is to qualify, but the youngsters know what it means. They're exciting young players who are playing well.

"I've scored against them (Slovakia) a few times before, but I will still have to try my hardest. Every qualifying campaign that comes around, we want to qualify. We have to keep working hard as a team. We need to keep playing well and make our home form count. We want to get off to a good start and we know it's a massive game. We have targets that we've set and we're going for top spot. We want to win the group."


23 March 201912:01pm

Ryan Giggs confirmed to the media on Saturday lunchtime that midfielder Aaron Ramsey has returned to Arsenal having failed to recover from his injury in time for the European Qualifier against Slovakia in Cardiff.

"It's a blow, especially the form he's been in, but it gives a chance for somebody else," said Giggs about his midfielder. "We made sure we had a Plan B, and we've worked on that during the week. We're going to miss someone like Aaron, but we've prepared for it as well.

"It's important for us to get off to a good start but it's not going to be easy. Their coming here with three points and we'll have to be up for it. We want to be competitive in every qualifying campaign, that's the level we need to be at consistently. We always great support and the lads love playing here. We want it to be a fortress.

"We've done a lot of experimenting with the system and the players. It's difficult because we don't always have the same players available. But we want to get to a consistent level in terms of partnerships across the pitch. There's been highs and lows, but we want consistency."


23 March 201911:27am

Ryan Giggs and his squad took to the field at Cardiff City Stadium this morning ahead of Sunday's European Qualifier against Slovakia in the capital (2pm). 

Aaron Ramsey was a notable absentee from the session and the manager is expected to answer questions on his midfield star when he addresses the media shortly.



Hamšík scoops top award

22 March 20196:49pm

Marek Hamšík has again been named Slovakian Player of the Year ahead of Sunday's opening European Qualifier against Wales in Cardiff.

The midfielder, currently playing his club football in China with Dalian Yifang, has now won the award for the last six years in succession. The talisman of the Slovakian side, Hamšík will be the one to watch on Sunday afternoon. He is also the all-time record appearance holder having played over 100 games for his country since making his debut in February 2007.



22 March 20196:30pm

David Brooks claimed the FAW Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year awards on Thursday evening, and is now targeting team success as Wales head into their opening European Qualifier against Slovakia.

Brooks has already made a big impression on the English Premier League this season following his switch from Sheffield United to Bournemouth, and has now established himself in Ryan Giggs' plans ahead of the new campaign.

"It is a really exciting time for me and the team," said Brooks to BBC Sport. "I play with the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, you feel like you've got the same ability as them and can impose yourself on the game. They are world class players, they've played at the top level so you do look up to them and take notes off them in training and in games.

"I think all our fixtures are tough, the group has quality throughout so we will have to be at our best in every game. But we will go into Sunday and every game with the belief we can win."


22 March 20192:46pm

Ryan Giggs and his Wales squad were back on the training ground this morning as preparations continue for the European Qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday.

David Brooks had an extra spring in his step having claimed the FAW Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year awards the night before, while Harry Wilson was celebrating his 22nd birthday with the ball at his feet, doing what he does best.




22 March 201912:12pm

Gareth Bale is Wales' all-time record goalscorer, and Sunday's match will have extra significance in that the first of his 31 goals came against Slovakia in Cardiff.

It was back in October 2006 that a teenage Bale made only his third appearance for Wales, and he registered his first goal in the 5-1 defeat to Slovakia with a trademark free-kick. The goal made him Wales' youngest-ever goalscorer at the time. However, it was a match to otherwise forget for John Toshack's side.

Wales won the return qualifier 5-2 in September 2007 with Craig Bellamy scoring a brace. The third match between the two nations then took place at EURO 2016, with Bale again scoring from a free-kick in the famous 2-1 victory.



22 March 20199:12am

The last time Wales went head-to-head with Slovakia would prove to be one of the most memorable matches in the history of the national team.

The opening match of UEFA EURO 2016 paired Wales against Slovakia in Bordeaux, and goals from Gareth Bale and Hal Robson-Kanu sealed an incredible 2-1 victory. From the anthem before kick-off to the celebrations at the final whistle, the game had everything we could have wished for. Click the video below to see how the Red Wall reacted to the result.


22 March 20199:03am

Wales will take on the early Group E leaders on Sunday following Slovakia's 2-0 win over Hungary on Thursday night that moved them to the top of the group.

Goals from Ondrej Duda and Albert Rusnák sealed the victory for Pavel Hapal's side. Meanwhile, top seeds Croatia were also in action and had to come from behind to beat Azerbaijan 2-1 in Zagreb. The World Cup finalists now head to Budapest to take on Hungary on Sunday.


21 March 20196:39pm

FC Cymru - The Matchday Magazine for our opening European Qualifier against Slovakia is now available as a free download via the link below.

The latest issue of FC Cymru is packed full of features on our opponents and many other aspects of the game in Wales, including the JD Welsh Cup and the Women's National Team.

Hard copies of FC Cymru will also be distributed free of charge at Cardiff City Stadium before the match, so be sure to arrive early in order to pick up your free copy.


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21 March 20196:23pm

While the very best of Welsh football are celebrated at the FAW awards evening, our four Group E rivals in UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying are in action.

Slovakia take on Hungary in Trnava, while Croatia take on Azerbaijan in Zagreb. Both games kick-off at 7.45pm. Manager Ryan Giggs will have a particular interest in events in Trnava as Wales take on Slovakia in Cardiff on Sunday (2pm), while Hungary and Croatia also return to competitive action on Sunday when they meet in Budapest (5pm).

The Live Match Hub brings you all the latest news in the build-up to the European Qualifier between Wales and Slovakia at the Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday (24 March).

Check this page regularly for updates.