Gareth Bale out injured for Wales' crucial World Cup qualifiers

Gareth Bale

GETTY Gareth Bale on Wales duty

Bale will now miss that game, along with Friday's trip to Georgia.

That goal will be much more achievable in Bale's absence.

Despite the strength in depth in Chris Coleman's current squad, Tom Lawrence admits it is hard to replace someone of Bale's calibre - but says that Wales can still qualify for the World Cup in Russian Federation without him.

Bale suffered a calf strain during Real's Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund last week, a disappointing end to an otherwise impressive night for the winger.

As for taking Bale's spot, Lawrence added: "I wouldn't say I can replace him".

So Ireland should be looking to win both games regardless of Wales' result in Georgia but that has gotten more realistic with Bale's injury. He joined up with the Wales squad yesterday and did a light training...

In the fans' vote, Stoke City midfielder Joe Allen won the award while 17-year-old Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn, who made his debut for Wales in September and scored against Austria, scooped the young player award. Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane has maintained since that the issue was not so serious, but the 28-year-old did miss his club's 2-0 La Liga win at home to Espanyol last weekend.

Second place could be enough to earn Coleman's team a place in the play-offs, which will see eight of the nine runners-up in the European qualifying groups play for four remaining places in Russian Federation 2018.

For Wales boss Chris Coleman the news represents a huge blow, as the national team still face a major fight to keep their hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup alive.

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