Saturday 16 December 2017

'Wales are missing Bale which for them is like Argentina missing Messi' - O'Neill ready for big night in Cardiff

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale
David Kelly

David Kelly

IRELAND boss Martin O'Neill has dismissed any claims that his side may be seeking revenge for the horror tackle that has denied them the services of captain Seamus Coleman, who again lent his support to his colleagues by attending last night's final training session.

Welsh defender Neil Taylor was sent off in the grim, scoreless Dublin tie for a horror tackle on the full-back.

However, although O'Neill agrees with Welsh counterpart, Chris Coleman, that tonight's Cardiff City Stadium clash will be an intensely physical affair, the Derryman doesn't expect matters to get out of control.

Instead, the manager believes that his players will be motivated by the thoughts of qualifying for the World Cup next year so that the popular Donegal man can join them there.

“I don't know about revenge but there would be a view amongst players, if we could make it to Russia, Seamus would be at the the forefront of many of our minds.

“He is a world-class player and we have missed him. Wales are missing Gareth Bale which for them is like Argentina missing Messi.

“But Seamus is important for us. It would be nice for him to get to a World Cup.

“The players know each other and come up against each other most weeks so I would expect it to be a physical game.”

And O'Neill senses that Ireland could be on the verge of another spectacular evening to rival their Italian job in the Euros and the spectacular success against Germany during that qualification campaign

“Friday was a big night for us, it was a must-game win and there has been a feeling around similar to those occasions in Lille and at home to Germany which are fresh in the memory.

“It doesn't really get much bigger than this. We've put ourselves in a position where we have to win this game and Wales are in the same position.

“It doesn't bother me who might be favourites because we both have to win the game. Being at home is an obvious advantage for them.

“But our approach will be quite the same as it was in Lille, verve, detemination, when we closed them down quickly and a lot of that will be necessary.

“We created a few chances and finally took one with five minutes to go of an epic game. It's not that far back in the memory.

“We need to utilise our game-plan as best as we possibly can. We need to be patient but not too paitoent. Once we find ourselves in front after 90 minutes.”

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