Thursday 19 October 2017

'Ireland predictably parked the bus after that strike' - Welsh media react to Boys in Green's win in Cardiff

9 October 2017; Aaron Ramsey of Wales reacts following his side's defeat during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
9 October 2017; Aaron Ramsey of Wales reacts following his side's defeat during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

While jubilant Irish fans celebrate last night's famous victory, Welsh supporters must come to terms with a third place finish in Group D despite starting the campaign as top seeds.

After making the semi-finals at Euro 2016, Chris Coleman and his players will be bitterly disappointed not to reach next summer's World Cup, and the Welsh media coverage of last night's fixture reflects that.

After being throughly outplayed in the game's early stages, Ireland grew into the match and eventually snatched victory after a searing James McClean strike found the top corner after 57 minutes.

Ireland defended resolutely thereafter and only allowed one chance of note throughout, a header from Hal Robson-Kanu that was acrobatically saved by Darren Randolph.

"Wales saw their World Cup dreams come to a gut-wrenching end after slumping to 1-0 defeat at the hands of Group rivals Ireland in Cardiff," Tom Coleman of Wales Online said.

"James McClean's second-half strike proved enough to send Martin O'Neill's men to the play-offs at the expense of their hosts, who despite enjoying the majority of possession, couldn't find a way through a resolute Irish backline.

"Ireland predictably parked the bus after that strike, although striker Daryl Murphy was perhaps lucky not to see red after appearing to strike the face of Ramsey.

"Ultimately though, Wales didn't display enough attacking verve to truly trouble a stubborn Irish defence, with substitute Ben Woodburn's fizzed cross-cum-shot the closest they came to an equaliser on a desperately disappointing night for Coleman's charges."

Also writing in Wales Online, Chris Wathan praised the passionate Welsh supporters but counted last night as a missed opportunity for Coleman's side.

"The dreams are Ireland’s now, results elsewhere meaning the win secured their place in the play-offs at Wales’ expense," he said.

"And it will jar those from the Red Wall who will watch them there. They know they are not a better side, that they won’t light up Russia if they make it there as Wales had done in France.

"But, ultimately, they bettered Wales here by claiming the one goal, pouncing on their one opening and stealing that one last shot at finals glory.

"The only defeat of the campaign – the only time they had been behind even – was the one that mattered most, that hurt most. As the final whistle blew, perhaps the Irish couldn’t have believed their luck."

BT Sport pundit Robbie Savage drew a sharp response from Irish supporters on a recent trip to Dublin after he said that Seamus Coleman is the only Ireland player who would get in the Welsh team, but the former Wales midfielder was magnanimous on social media after last night's game.

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