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Live Match Hub: Wales v Spain
International
10 October 2018

Live Match Hub: Wales v Spain

STADIUM DEBATE CONTINUES IN WELSH MEDIA

12 October 20188:34am

It was a tough night for Ryan Giggs and his Wales team, but while the defensive problems that allowed Spain to claim such a comfortable win was the consistent lead story, the debate over the use of the Principality Stadium continues.

The Western Mail described the defensive display as a 'horror show', but accepted that Spain were on a different level to Wales on the night. However, the presence of over 50,000 fans for a friendly on a Thursday night was seen as a major positive.

BBC Sport pundit Danny Gabbidon admitted that he was 'torn' over the decision of moving away from the Cardiff City Stadium to the city centre.

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PRESS PRAISE FOR SPAIN

12 October 20188:31am

The Spanish media are waxing lyrical over Luis Enrique's side this morning following their impressive 4-1 win over Wales at the Principality Stadium last night.

Daily newspaper Marca headlined two-goal hero Paco Alcacer for special praise and highlighted the performance of Suso, claiming that the emergence of AC Milan star should be a concern for national team regulars as they enter a new and exciting era under Enrique.

Meanwhile, Sport made the observation that no Barcelona player was included in the Spanish starting line-up for the first time in over two years, also noting the fact that Enrique's last management appointment was at the Camp Nou.

AS also heaped praise on Enrique and his side, opening with the headline 'Spain tame the Welsh dragon', and embracing the attacking flair that has seen the side now average four goals a game under their new manager.

 

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FRUSTRATED GIGGS BEMOANS LACK OF BASICS

11 October 201810:32pm

Wales manager Ryan Giggs admitted that his side failed to do the basics against Spain as Luis Enrique's side claimed an impressive 4-1 win at the Principality Stadium.

"It was disappointing," said Giggs in his post-match press conference. "You have to do the basics right, as individuals and as a team. We got taught a lesson in many aspects, but the biggest lesson was to do the basics right."

Giggs did however praise the contribution of substitutes David Brooks, Matthew Smith and Tom Lawrence, and highlighted the fact that his team kept going even when they were four goals down. "I challenged them to try and win the second half," he added. "And we had a draw."

There was another blow as Giggs stated that Gareth Bale is unlikely to be fit for the UEFA Nations League match against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday, and that Ethan Ampadu and Chris Mepham would have their injuries assessed in the coming days.

However, Giggs also stated that his side would perform better on Tuesday, and acknowledged the quality in the Spanish side.

"The goals were really disappointing," he added. "We were up against technically such a good team, but we gave away poor set-piece goals. We will take it on the chin, we were disappointing. The next game can't come quick enough."

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IT'S ALMOST TIME!

11 October 20187:20pm

Kick-off is fast approaching for the international friendly between Wales and Spain.

Both managers have named their starting XI and the crowd is building at the Principality Stadium. There's a great atmosphere already for what should be a memorable encounter.

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

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SUPPORTER INFORMATION

11 October 20185:27pm

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PRESS WATCH

11 October 201810:32am

A couple of stories from Spain this morning ahead of the match. 

AS lead with the story that manager Luis Enrique will use the international friendly against Wales at the Principality Stadium as a rehearsal for the UEFA Nations League match against England in Seville on Monday.

Meanwhile, Sport have highlighted the two options that Enrique believes Wales have without the injured Gareth Bale following his press conference last night. Enrique suggested that if Wales are to play the same way without Bale then Tyler Roberts would be the likely option, otherwise they would need to change their approach.

 

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MEET THE REF – ANTHONY TAYLOR

11 October 201810:13am

English Premier League referee Anthony Taylor will take charge of the international friendly between Wales and Spain at the Principality Stadium this evening.

Taylor, 39, has been a Premier League referee since 2010, and was promoted to the FIFA list in 2013. One of his career highlights was refereeing the 2017 FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley, when Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory.

Born in Manchester, Taylor has refereed over 200 games in the English, while his most recent international appointment was the UEFA Nations League match between the Czech Republic and Ukraine last month.

Both teams will be able to make a maximum of six substitutions this evening.

SPAIN – AMBITIONS DEFINED BY PAST SUCCESS

11 October 20189:28am

This evening, Cardiff will host one of the most successful football nations in recent times as Ryan Giggs' Wales take on Spain at the Principality Stadium (7.45pm).

New manager Luis Enrique is the man currently entrusted to restore his country to former footballing glory, and to emulate the success that made Spain champions of Europe in 2008 and 2012, and champions of the world in 2010.

That was an incredible era for Spain under the guidance of the late Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque, as players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and Carles Puyol produced a brand of football that rival nations simply could not compete against.

Their success coincided with a period of club domination for Barcelona under the leadership of Pep Guardiola, and it is these standards that have set the bar high in Spain. Enrique has enjoyed a strong start to his tenure with victories over England and Croatia, and he will be looking for more positives from his side this evening.

But the memories of past success weigh heavily on the shoulders of Spain, and they failed to make it out of the group stages of the 2014 World Cup, despite heading into the tournament as defending champions.

At both EURO 2016 and the 2018 World Cup finals, Spain failed to make it past the last 16, and there has been turmoil off the field recently with Enrique's predecessor Julen Lopetegui losing his job on the eve of the finals in Russia.

Enrique is now building for the future, and while he can still rely on the services of veteran stars like Sergio Busquets and captain Sergio Ramos, there are a number of young stars emerging to compliment the high-intensity style of play that the manager demands.

It is a team that is being developed very much in the style of Enrique the player, and those that remember his committed performances for Barcelona, Real Madrid and Spain during his successful playing career will understand the level of expectancy in this current Spain side.

This is the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of the Spanish national team, and it is against such quality opposition that Wales manager Ryan Giggs will learn the most about his young players.

The Principality Stadium is fitting venue to host such a high profile fixture, and the closure of the roof will create a unique atmosphere that will only add to the occasion. It is clearly a match not to be missed.

Click here to download FC Cymru, the official match magazine, for more from both camps.

Click here for ticket information ahead of the match.

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GIGGS EXCITED BY TOUGH SPAIN TEST

10 October 20186:39pm

Ryan Giggs addressed the press and media at the Principality Stadium earlier today to explain the situation regarding Gareth Bale and how he expects his young team to perform against Spain.

The manager also confirmed that the stadium roof will be closed for the match and reflected on his memories of representing Wales there during his own playing career. 

Click the video below for the full press conference.

THE RISE OF CONNOR ROBERTS

10 October 20186:17pm

Chris Wathan of BBC Sport Wales recently went back to school with Swansea City and Wales defender Connor Robert to discuss his incredible journey over the last 12-months.

"It doesn't stop now," said Roberts, 23, who scored his first international goal against the Republic of Ireland in the 4-1 UEFA Nations League win last month. "I'm happy to pat myself on the back because there were plenty who doubted me - including myself.

"I've set a standard for myself now and I have to keep it up. A footballer's career is very short and I have to make the most of it, and I can only do that if I keep it up.

"The crop of players we have and that are coming through with Wales is very positive but we have to give fans more to cheer about after the Euros. That's gone, it was amazing and I loved watching it on TV, but there has to be more."

Click here for the full interview and video.

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GIGGS v ENRIQUE - 20 YEARS ON

10 October 20185:54pm

Popular Spanish daily newspaper Marca today featured a memorable encounter between Wales manager Ryan Giggs and his Spanish counterpart Luis Enrique when the two went head-to-head in the UEFA Champions League.

The 3-3 draw between Manchester United and Barcelona took place at Old Trafford back in September 1998, and both players found themselves on target. Giggs opened the scoring with a superb header before Enrique completed Barca's comeback with a penalty to tie the group stage match. 

The match was also surrounded in controversy off the field, with reports that Jordi Cruyff had been spying on his former club ahead of the game, allegations that he strongly denied.

However, Giggs and United would have the last laugh, winning the Champions League in dramatic style against Bayern Munich to complete the treble at the end of that season, with the famous final taking place at Barcelona's Camp Nou.

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ASH HAILS WALES' STRENGTH IN DEPTH

10 October 20182:51pm

Captain Ashley Williams believes the strength in depth of the current Wales squad is the strongest that he has ever known.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Williams also discussed Gareth Bale's contribution to the group despite his injury, how impressed he has been with the young players that have come into the squad, and shared his thoughts on returning to the Principality Stadium to take on Spain.

Click the video below to watch Ashley Williams' press conference in full.

GIGGS RESIGNED TO LOSING BALE

10 October 20182:27pm

Manager Ryan Giggs has resigned himself to the fact that Gareth Bale will be unavailable for the match against Spain at the Principality Stadium on Thursday evening.

"He's extremely doubtful for tomorrow," explained Giggs to the media at his press conference on Wednesday lunchtime. "He's got a little bit of muscle fatigue from the weekend. It's nothing serious, we're just monitoring it daily. The medical team are constantly in dialogue with Real Madrid."

Wales return to UEFA Nations League action on Tuesday against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin, and Giggs remains hopeful the extended recovery period will enable his talisman to return. However, having spent the last five seasons in the Spanish capital playing for Real Madrid, there will be extra disappointment for Bale to miss out on the match.

"We'll give him every chance for Tuesday," Giggs added. "We just want what's best for Gareth, for the team, and for Real Madrid as well. He had a scan a couple of weeks ago with Real Madrid and had another scan this week. He feels good, but we just have to weigh-up the risk. We'll take no chances."

Giggs also confirmed that the roof of the Principality Stadium will be closed for the match against Luis Enrique's Spain, and a tough test is expected. "They have a new manager and were very impressive last month against England and Croatia. It's tough but it's exciting. We're up against some of the best players in the world and one of the best managers.

"I was excited when we had the chance to play here. It looks like there will be over 50,000 fans. It's a great stadium, right in the middle of the city. The pitch is magnificent. I think the young players will be fine. It's exciting, a new stage, a new venue. I want them to express themselves. If they're in the team their in the team for a reason. But they'll need to be at the top of their game, the same as the older players."

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GIGGS, ASH AND MORE

10 October 201811:46am

It's a busy day at the Principality Stadium as Wales prepare to take on Spain tomorrow evening.

Manager Ryan Giggs is currently taking his squad through a training session at the stadium and he will address the assembled press and media shortly to share his thoughts on the game.

Captain Ashley Williams will also take questions about the match as Wales return to the stadium for the first time since 2011. Check back later for more from the manager and captain.

In the meantime, click here to download FC Cymru, the official match magazine.

PRESS REFLECT ON A FAMOUS NIGHT IN WREXHAM

09 October 20187:36pm

The Independent rolled back the years today to remember the one and only time that Wales claimed a victory over Spain.

The memorable 3-0 win came back in 1985 when a 21-year old Mark Hughes scored an incredible volley to compliment a brace from Ian Rush. "I used to stand on that terrace as a young lad and cheer Wrexham on," said Hughes. "So to do it in front of the Wrexham Kop was a special moment for me."

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IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK

09 October 20187:09pm

It's been a month since Wales last took to the field for the UEFA Nations League double-header against the Republic Of Ireland and Denmark. Check out the video below to refresh your memory, and turn up the volume!

PRINCIPALITY PAST – THE LAST TIME

09 October 20186:57pm

An injury to Gareth Bale in the build-up to this highly-anticipated fixture made a tough test all the more difficult for manager Gary Speed as Fabio Capello's England side arrived in the capital in March 2011 for this European Championship qualifier.

It was Speed's first competitive match in-charge of the national team, and a passionate crowd of almost 70,000 fans arrived with optimism ahead of a new and exciting era. However, Frank Lampard put England ahead from the penalty spot after only seven minutes following a rash tackle by James Collins on Ashley Young.

The lead was then doubled by Darren Bent inside the opening 15 minutes as England exposed the vulnerabilities that existed in the Wales defence. Although Wales enjoyed better periods of possession in the second half, the necessary cutting edge was lacking without Bale, and Craig Bellamy was left isolated with little quality service to work with in attack.

The match will be remembered as a comfortable victory for Capello's England, who later qualified for the finals as undefeated group winners. Meanwhile, it proved to be a steep learning curve for Speed and his staff, and would also be the last time that the team played at the stadium until this week.

Wales: Hennessey, Gunter, D.Collins, J.Collins, Williams, Crofts, Ledley, Ramsey, King, Bellamy, Morison.

Subs: Myhill, Eardley, Gabbidon, Vaughan, Allen, Church, Evans.

England: Hart, Johnson, Cole, Dawson, Terry, Parker, Lampard, Wilshere, Young, Bent, Rooney.

Subs: Green, Jagielka, Lescott, Milner, Downing, Defoe, Carroll.

Referee: O. Benquerenca (Portugal)

ENRIQUE INSISTS ON 'SPORTING MERIT' SELECTION

09 October 20186:05pm

Luis Enrique has enjoyed a successful start to his managerial career with the Spanish national team, but while impressive victories over England and Coatia have made headlines for the right reasons, the continued omission of Barcelona defender Jordi Alba remains a talking point in the Spanish press.

“By rule, I don't talk about players who are not on the list,” explained Enrique when he announced his squad for the fixtures against Wales and England last week. "But I've always left out players based on sporting reasons. Unfortunately, I can only bring 23 players knowing that there are another 20 players that could play and do well for the national team. I have never left a player out for personal reasons.”

Alba, 29, has yet to feature for the national team under the leadership of his former Barcelona manager, with the defeat to host nation Russia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals being his last international appearance. “Since the start, I said there are players at a very high level that will be off the list and that maybe it's unfair,” Enrique added. “But there is only space for 23 players.”

PRINCIPALITY PAST – GIGGS ON TARGET IN FINNISH DEFEAT

09 October 20189:46am

It was back in March 2000 that Wales played their first match at the new stadium, as a record crowd of 66,500 fans watched Mark Hughes’ side take on Finland in an international friendly.

Current manager Ryan Giggs had the honour of scoring Wales’ first goal at the stadium, but the match ended in a frustrating 2-1 defeat on what was a difficult playing surface at the time. Giggs’ strike on the hour mark reduced the deficit, but the side were eventually unable to find an equaliser.

It was a deserved goal for Giggs as he had proved himself to be the most effective player for Wales in the opening half, testing the Finns with a series of trademark runs. Meanwhile, Mark Crossley was the busier of the two goalkeepers, as Finland comfortably dealt with their opponents.

Finnish football legend Jari Litmanen etched his name in quiz-question folklore when he opened the scoring after 20 minutes, and it was Wales striker Nathan Blake who would double the lead for the visitors with his unfortunate own goal just before half-time.

Wales: Crossley, J. Robinson, Barnard, Page, Coleman, Melville, Savage, Pembridge, Blake, Speed, Giggs.

Subs: Ward, Saunders, C. Robinson, Johnson, Symons, G. Roberts, I. Roberts.

Finland: Enckelman, Reini, Hyypia, Saastamoinen, Tihinen, Kolkka, Nurmela, Riihilahti, Valakari, Litmanen, Forssell.

Subs: Moilanen, Tuomela, Helin, Tainio, M. Lehkosuo, M. Lehkosuo, Paatelainen, Wiss.

Referee: M. Ross (Northern Ireland)

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PAGE PRAISE FOR RODON

08 October 20189:56pm

Swansea City defender Joe Rodon only made his 1st team debut for his club two months ago, and now finds himself elevated into the plans of national team manager Ryan Giggs following his call-up to the senior squad at the weekend.

Replacing the injured Paul Dummett, Rodon is one of a number of young players promoted to the senior ranks by Giggs since his appointment. U21 manager Rob Page recently took the time to discuss Rodon's qualities, and to explain how impressed he has been by his performances in the Championship this season. 

"I watched him recently and he played really well," said Page. "I think the way Swansea are going about their job at the minute is very good, it's enjoyable on the eye, and Joe is a big part of how they play in terms of building from the back. It's pleasing to see him drive out with the ball at times.

"He's growing in confidence with that and he's coming on really nicely, but he can't lose track of what he's doing. The international side of it will look after itself as long as he's doing it at club level. It's a great honour to play for your country, especially to go with the 1st team, and it can't be taken for granted."

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BALE UP FOR BALLON D'OR

08 October 20189:47pm

Gareth Bale has been included on the 30-man shortlist of nominees for the prestigious Ballon d'Or award. The Wales and Real Madrid star made headlines earlier this year with two goals in the UEFA Champions League final to claim his fourth winners' medal in five seasons with the Spanish giants.

The award is presented by France Football, and for the last decade has been won by either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, Ronaldo winning the last two awards in 2016 and 2017. Stanley Matthews was the inaugural recipient of the award in 1956, while Michael Owen was the last British player to win the award in 2001.

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PREVIOUS MEETINGS - WALES V SPAIN

08 October 20189:40pm

Wales and Spain have only met five times previously, but the last meeting between the two teams back in 1985 proved to be the most memorable.

A superb volley from Mark Hughes and a brace of goals from Ian Rush at the Racecourse earned Wales a 3-0 victory in World Cup qualifying. Read more about that famous victory in FC Cymru, the official match magazine.

The first meeting between the two teams was back in April 1961 and took place at Ninian Park. It was Spain who claimed a 2-1 win against Jimmy Murphy's side, with the great Alfredo Di Stefano scoring the winning goal. However, a goal from Ivor Allchurch earned Wales a share of the points at the Santiago Bernabeu a month later in the return match.

It wasn't until 1982 that the two teams would meet again, this time for an international friendly in Valencia. The late Robbie James scored Wales' only goal in the 1-1 draw. The sides then met in World Cup qualifying in 1984 in Seville, and it was Spain that claimed a comprehensive 3-0 win, a result that Wales would emulate in the return match the following year.

The complete record

19th April 1961 - Wales 1-2 Spain - FIFA World Cup qualifying

18th May 1961 - Spain 1-1 Wales - FIFA World Cup qualifying

24th March 1982 - Spain 1-1 Wales - International Friendly

17th October 1984 - Spain 3-0 Wales - FIFA World Cup qualifying

30th April 1985 - Wales 3-0 Spain - FIFA World Cup qualifying

Wales meet Spain at the Principality Stadium on Thursday (11 October) in an international challenge match.

This Live Match Hub will bring you updates from both camps ahead of the match, so check back regularly for all the latest coverage.