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Wales vs Republic of Ireland: Giggs can oversee Nations League triumph

Wales vs Republic of Ireland Match Preview and Predictions

A new era in international football starts this week as the league phase of the Nations League gets under way.

[All odds correct at time of publication]

Match information

When is it? Thursday 6th September

What time is kick-off? 19:45

Where is it being played? Cardiff City Stadium

Which channel is it on? Sky Sports Football

All 55 member states are involved in the competition which replaces meaningless friendlies and can provide a gateway to Euro 2020 for the winner.

Wales and the Republic of Ireland have been drawn against each other alongside Denmark in the second tier as former Manchester United team-mates Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane meet for the first time in a managerial capacity.

Wales vs Republic of Ireland Betting Tips

Here are our three best bets for the Nations League game in Cardiff:

The lowdown

Wales and the Republic of Ireland meet less than a year since their feisty World Cup qualifier when James McClean's winner sent Martin O'Neill's men into the play-offs.

Feature match previews

If you're interested in tips on this week's internationals, check out our in-depth previews below:

That goal also ended Wales' hopes of qualifying for Russia and a month later national coach Chris Coleman left for an ill-fated spell with Sunderland.

Since then Giggs has taken over the reins and there is a wave of optimism sweeping through the principality despite the international retirement of Hal Robson-Kanu.

The Republic have not lost to Wales since the early 90s - a run of eight matches - but a raft of injuries means a squad lacking quality could struggle in Cardiff.

O'Neill recently revealed that Declan Rice is considering changing his allegiance to England, so with that kind of backdrop the first of our Wales vs Republic of Ireland predictions is for Wales to win and under 3.5 goals at 31/20.

Wales have won just one of their last five friendlies, but they were up against tough opponents like France, Uruguay and Mexico, conceding just three goals in total, so they should have too much for a weak Republic team missing Shane Long and containing four strikers all playing in the Championship.

First goalscorer

Gareth Bale is 3/1 favourite to open the scoring and in a match lacking quality - especially on Ireland's side - that's a price worth taking. Bale has scored in his last three games for Real Madrid and broke the deadlock in his last outing in a 4-1 win against Leganes, plus he scored a hat-trick for Wales against China in March when he struck after two minutes.

Anytime goalscorer

Tom Lawrence has made a good start to the season with three goals in six appearances for Derby and has found the net in two of his last three starts for Wales, so 3/1 looks a decent price in the anytime scorer market, although it may be wise to wait until the line-ups are announced as Sam Vokes may be included at his expense.

Where the game will be won and lost

The Republic may have had the upper hand in recent encounters but Wales were missing Bale in October.

Despite the absence of the Real Madrid star and needing a win to book their flight to Russia, O'Neill's players rarely ventured into their opponents' half and we're expecting another tight tussle on Thursday.

The last three matches between the nations have been goalless at the break and that catches the eye at 7/5 in the second of our Wales vs Republic of Ireland tips.

Finally, McClean's winner 11 months ago was the first in three meetings between the nations and we're not forecasting another goal fest with O'Neill's tactics expected to be similar to that from last year.

With that in mind, a 1-0 win for Giggs' men at 5/1 in what will be his first on match in charge on home territory wraps up our Wales vs Republic of Ireland betting tips.

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Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Football