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Wales looks to exact revenge on Ireland in UEFA Nations League opener

Garth Bale Wales Ireland UEFA Nations League soccer

With the start of international football’s newest competition, the UEFA Nations League, on Thursday, one of the most highly anticipated encounters is the clash between Wales and Ireland in Cardiff. Ryan Giggs will be taking charge of his first game as Wales team manager as his side looks for revenge on the team that prevented them from reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

  • Ireland won the last match between the two teams 1-0 to reach the World Cup playoffs.
  • The last seven games between Wales and Ireland have been settled by a single goal.
  • Just one goal has been scored in each of the last three matches between these two teams.

Ryan Giggs makes managerial bow

The former Manchester United winger is now in charge of his country and his first match in the dugout is sure to be a tense affair. And while neither of these teams made it to the World Cup, Ireland made it to the playoff phase thanks to beating Wales in their own backyard. The makeup of the Irish squad, however, compared to what Giggs has at his disposal makes that outcome a second time unlikely.

Looking at a simple bet based solely on the outcome of the match, Wales come into this contest as the clear favorite to take all three points. The home side is at -110 to make a winning start to the UEFA Nations League, while Ireland is out at +350.

Giggs has picked an experienced squad for this game and, on paper at least, they would look to have by far the technically stronger team. A comfortable 2-0 win for the home side is priced at +300 and looks a reasonable bet.

Gareth Bale could be the star of the show

Having made an excellent start to the new La Liga season with Real Madrid, forward Gareth Bale is the most potent weapon at Giggs’ disposal. The 28-year-old is at just +110 to score at any time during the game, while you can also back him at +275 to net either the first or last goal.

And if you fancy Bale to score more than one goal Thursday in front of his own fans, you can back that option as well. The forward is at +550 to score two or more goals against Ireland.

Unfortunately for Martin O’Neill, it is not only in attack where Wales would appear to have the upper hand. The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Joe Ledley give the home side the creative edge in the middle of the park as well, and Ireland’s best bet of a positive result may well be trying to contain their opponents before hitting on the counter.

Ireland may well play for a draw, with a stalemate priced at +210. A goalless draw, meanwhile, is at the higher price of +500.

Goals a major problem for Ireland

Football is ultimately a simple game, and goals are the order of the day. The problem for Ireland is that they look like they will be hard to come by, with no forward who can boast a strong games-to-goals ratio.

With that in mind, it may well be worth backing Wales to win this game to nil (without Ireland scoring a goal) at a price of +162. By way of comparison to Ireland’s attacking woes, you can back Wales to score in both halves at +300 and to win both halves at +550.

And with just a single goal being scored in the last three matches between these two teams, this is unlikely to be a high-scoring affair. You can back UNDER 2.5 goals in this game at just -250, while you can be even more specific should you wish – one goal in this game is at +240, two goals are at +225 and three comes in at +400.

And with Bale firing on all cylinders, the points are likely to go to the home side. Wales should have their World Cup revenge with relative ease.