James McClean stuns Wales and sends Republic of Ireland into play-offs

Barcelona's Pique was jeered by Spain fans. Pic Getty

Barcelona's Pique was jeered by Spain fans. Pic Getty

Wales host the Republic of Ireland on Monday night knowing that they can not afford to lose if they want to wrap up a place in the World Cup play-offs.

Wales vs Republic of Ireland: In the World Cup Qualifying UEFA, Wales and Republic of Ireland of Group D face against each other today.

Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland, already assured of a second-place finish in Group C, secured their play-off berth courtesy of Scotland's agonising 2-2 Group F draw against Slovenia earlier in the evening.

If the doughty Georgians pull off a shock of Buster Douglas proportions in Serbia, then a win in Cardiff will allow Ireland to leapfrog the lot and progress to Russian Federation as group winners.

"But if you had said to me right at the beginning when the group was drawn that we'd have to go to Wales and win - and we were down as fourth seeds - I would have taken it". Meyler was outstanding. It was just a great night, and how often have our players performed heroically when all the odds were against them?

McLoughlin came off the bench to score against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park to help Ireland qualify for the finals.

"The players have proven this is a golden era", Coleman said at his press conference ahead of the Cardiff clash.

A victory for Wales over Ireland will guarantee us a place in the play-offs as one of the eight best group runners-up. A point may be OK, but we'll go for three points.

"Big nights that we have had in the past - and in the recent past - it's fresh in the memory". Whoever wins this match could be heading to the World Cup qualifying play-offs.

Republic captain Seamus Coleman had his leg broken by a challenge from Wales defender Neil Taylor in the goalless draw and has not played football since.

Before the defeat, Coleman called the current Wales squad a "golden generation", telling the Daily Telegraph: "I fought against it when they were labelled the "golden bunch" before we qualified for the Euros but now they've earned it".

"I just feel it is a wonderful night for soccer and it's a form of vindication for Martin O'Neill in particular".

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