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Wales Could Have A Trick Up Their Sleeve For Potential Group Decider In Cardiff

Wales Could Have A Trick Up Their Sleeve For Potential Group Decider In Cardiff
By Mikey Traynor
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Without wanting to count our chickens, and being fully aware that both Austria and Serbia are still well in contention to qualify from Group D of UEFA's World Cup qualifiers, there is a real possibility that Ireland's away fixture in Wales, the final match of this qualification campaign, could be a group decider, or at least a very important game for both sides.

Since 2011, the home of Welsh football has been the Cardiff City Stadium, where it's near 35,000 capacity insures a proper football atmosphere at the matches, something the players and fans alike have grown very fond of, but speaking to The Balls.ie Football Show, head of sport at Wales Online Paul Abbandonato claimed that the possibility of staging the Ireland match at the Principality (formerly Millenium) Stadium is something that the Welsh FA are considering.

After debating Ireland and Wales combined XI's after we had a go at our own following Wales Online's suggestion that only Seamus Coleman was a certainty from our side, attention quickly turned to the possibility of a very big encounter between the two sides.

October 9th, 2017 is the date of the game that could end up being win or bust for either side, and such an occasion would surely see Irish fans make the short trip across the water in their droves.

When asked whether or not the Euro 2016 performance put in by Wales had inspired a nation like Euro 88 and Italia 90 for us, Abbandonato played down the comparison, but suggested that a boost in interest could lead to a return to the Millenium.

With regards to the Irish effect under Jack Chartlon, no not to that level although there were a reported 200,000 people on the streets in Cardiff to welcome the team home from the finals in France.

This is still a rugby nation, isn't it? When Wales play rugby internationals, a nation is engaged with it and that hasn't really happened with the football in my opinion.

With regards to the Millenium Stadium, I've been thinking, interestingly Wales haven't named the venue for the last game of the campaign, which is against Ireland funnily enough.

There's a feeling that if there is something riding on that, they could sell 200,000 tickets for that match, probably 100,000 of them to Irish fans!


The prospect of a Wales vs Ireland Group D decider in the Principality Stadium is seriously exciting for Irish fans. We are absolutely sure that there would be incredible interest, and the Irish are right up there with the very best when it comes to making sure we are at big sporting events when our guys are involved, so the atmosphere would be absolutely electric.


It is by no means a certainty, as Abbandonato explained there is a common feeling in Welsh football that when they occupied the gigantic Millenium stadium, it didn't really feel like home.

There is a school of thought that they didn't feel very well treated in the Millenium Stadium, they felt it was more like an away game for them, or it certainly benefitted the opposition more than it did Wales, and I think there's a feeling of 'look we don't want to go back to a rugby stadium'.

We've got 35,000 screaming taffs in the Cardiff City Stadium, a proper football stadium, and that creates a better atmosphere than 70,000 at the Millenium and that's the view from the players and the management.

From an Irish point of view, the bigger stadium is by far a more attractive option. Cardiff City Stadium could prove to be a tough place to play for such an important game, and more Irish fans in the stadium could only be seen as a positive.

The session in Cardiff would also be incredible with so many fans likely to head over in hope of getting a ticket, so we are seriously hoping that the Welsh FA decide to cash in on the big interest, and go against the wishes of manager Chris Coleman who has publicly stated his desire for things to stay as they are.

You can listen to The Balls.ie Football Show in full below, but be warned, you're going to be seriously excited for Wales vs Ireland, and the first fixture between the two doesn't take place until March.


SEE ALSO: Only Seamus Coleman!? Here's Our Combined Ireland & Wales XI

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