Wales 4 - 1 Republic of Ireland | 2018 - UEFA Nations League | 2024116

UEFA Nations League Cardiff
- (local time)

0 - 0

REPORT: Wales 4-1 Ireland

The Republic of Ireland opened their UEFA Nations League campaign with a disappointing 4-1 defeat to Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday night.
Callum Robinson
6th Sep 2018

Goals from Tom Lawrence, Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsay and Connor Roberts was enough to see new Wales manager Ryan Giggs claim the victory in his first competitive game in charge at the expense of an Irish side, who responded in vain through Shaun Williams.

Ireland went into the match without several key players including James McClean, who grabbed a memorable winner the last time the sides met last October.

The Welsh started brightly and they took the lead in the sixth minute as Tom Lawrence raced onto Joe Allen’s precise through pass before drilling the ball past Darren Randolph at his near post.

The hosts doubled their lead when Gareth Bale curled an unstoppable effort into the top left corner from the edge of the box after 18 minutes before Aaron Ramsay slotted home the third in the closing stages of the first half.

Martin O’Neill’s side twice went close to reducing the deficit at the beginning of the second period but both Shane Duffy and Callum Robinson headed over the crossbar from close range.

Wales would add a fourth when Connor Roberts thumped an excellent volley into the bottom right corner before Ireland grabbed a consolation with 26 minutes remaining.

Substitute Shaun Williams grabbed his first international goal for Ireland as he regained possession from Aaron Ramsay before cleverly lifting the ball over the advancing keeper when through on goal.

WALES: Wayne Hennessy; Connor Roberts, Ashley Williams, Chris Mepham, Ben Davies (Paul Dummett 81); Ethan Ampadu (Matthew Smith 67), Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey; Brooks, Gareth Bale (Tyler Roberts 75), Tom Lawrence.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Darren Randolph; Seamus Colman, Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clark, Stephen Ward (Enda Stevens 60); Cyrus Christie, Jeff Hendrick, Conor Hourihane (Shaun Williams 55), Callum Robinson (Daryl Horgan 77); Callum O’Dowda, Jonathan Walters.

Referee: Clement Turpin (France).

UEFA Nations League Explained

Ireland kick off their UEFA Nations League campaign in Wales this evening.
UEFA Nations League.jpg
6th Sep 2018

What is the background to the UEFA Nations League?

The rejuvenation of national team football – and the UEFA Nations League – stems from the desire of UEFA and its 55 member associations to improve the quality and standing of national team football. UEFA and its associations wanted more sporting meaning in national team football, with associations, coaches, players and supporters increasingly of the opinion that friendly matches are not providing adequate competition for national teams.

Extensive consultation and discussions started as far back as the 2011 UEFA Strategy Meeting in Cyprus and continued at a series of Top Executive Programme (TEP) meetings over the following three years. The UEFA Nations League was unanimously adopted at the XXXVIII Ordinary UEFA Congress in Astana on 27 March 2014.

 

What is the basic format?

  • The format of the UEFA Nations League features promotion and relegation. The 55 European national teams have been divided into four leagues in accordance with UEFA's national association coefficient rankings on 11 October 2017.
  • League A includes the top-ranked sides and League D includes the lowest:

League A

Group A1: Germany, France, Netherlands
Group A2: Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland
Group A3: Portugal, Italy, Poland
Group A4: Spain, England, Croatia

  • Teams have been split into four groups of three, with the group winners then contesting the UEFA Nations League Finals (semi-finals, third-place match and final) in June 2019 to become the UEFA Nations League winners. One host country will be appointed in December 2018 from among the finalist teams.
  • The four teams that finish bottom of their groups will be relegated to League B for the 2020 edition.
  • The top four ranked teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

League B

Group B1: Slovakia, Ukraine, Czech Republic
Group B2: Russia, Sweden, Turkey
Group B3: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland
Group B4: Wales, Republic of Ireland, Denmark

  • Teams have been split into four groups of three.
  • The four group winners are promoted to League A, with the four sides that finish bottom relegated to League C for the next competition to be played in 2020.
  • The top four ranked teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer

 

League C

Group C1: Scotland, Albania, Israel
Group C2: Hungary, Greece, Finland, Estonia
Group C3: Slovenia, Norway, Bulgaria, Cyprus
Group C4: Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Lithuania

  • Teams have been split into one group of three (containing teams from Pots 1, 2 and 3 only) and three groups of four.
  • Due to winter venue restrictions, a group could contain a maximum of two of these teams: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania.
  • The four group winners are promoted to League B, with the four sides that finish bottom relegated to League D for the 2020 edition.
  • The top four ranked teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.

League D

Group D1: Georgia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Andorra
Group D2: Belarus, Luxembourg, Moldova, San Marino
Group D3: Azerbaijan, Faroe Islands, Malta, Kosovo
Group D4: FYR Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar

  • Teams have been split into four groups of four.
  • Due to excessive travel restrictions, any group could not contain a maximum of one of these pairs: Andorra & Kazakhstan, Faroe Islands & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Kazakhstan, Gibraltar & Azerbaijan
  • The four group winners are promoted to League C for the 2020 edition.
  • The top four ranked teams that do not qualify for UEFA EURO 2020 will enter a play-off in March 2020, with one finals place on offer.
  • Leagues A and B consist of four groups of three teams
  • League C comprises one group of three teams and three groups of four sides
  • League D is formed by four groups of four teams
  • The League Phase Draw for the UEFA Nations League took place at the SwissTech Convention Centre in Lausanne on 24 January 2018.
  • In each league, four group winners are promoted (or play in the Finals, see below) and four teams are relegated for the next competition to be played in 2020.
  • The overall UEFA Nations League rankings will determine the composition of the draw pots for the subsequent European Qualifiers.
  • In addition, the UEFA Nations League will provide teams with another chance to qualify for the UEFA EURO final tournament, with four sides qualifying through play-off matches which take place in March 2020.

When will the UEFA Nations League take place?

The UEFA Nations League will take place as follows:

  • The UEFA Nations League group games are being held over six matchdays, during the 'double-headers' in September, October and November 2018. The UEFA Nations League Finals competition for the teams that win the four groups within the top division is scheduled for June 2019.
  • For the UEFA Nations League Finals, the group winners of UEFA Nations League A will play in a knockout format (semi-finals, third-place match and final) in June 2019 to become the UEFA Nations League winners. One host country will be formally appointed by the UEFA Executive Committee in December 2018 from one of the nations competing in the final four. Italy, Poland and Portugal (all in Group A3) have expressed interest.
  • The play-off matches will be staged in March 2020.

Will qualifying for the UEFA EURO change?

The changes to UEFA EURO qualifying will make it more streamlined. The equation is now simple: ten groups with the top two teams in each group qualifying automatically, and the other four places being awarded to European Qualifiers play-off winners, in which the 16 group winners of the UEFA Nations League will be in contention.

The UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying draw will be made after the completion of the UEFA Nations League and allow for the four UEFA Nations League Finals participants to be drawn into groups of five teams.

But the key principle of the qualifiers remains: that every team can play every team.

The European Qualifiers for UEFA EURO 2020 commence in March 2019. There will be two matchdays in each of March, June, September, October and November 2019. In total, there will be five groups of five teams and five groups of six teams (ten groups in all) playing over ten matchdays (the same number as now). The winner and runner-up in each of the ten groups will qualify automatically for the UEFA EURO 2020 final tournament (June 2020).

  • The last four EURO places will be won through the European Qualifiers play-offs, which will take place in March 2020 and which will be contested by the 16 UEFA Nations League group winners.
  • If a group winner has already qualified via the European Qualifiers, then their spot will go to the next best-ranked team in their league. If a league does not have four teams to compete, the remaining slots are allocated to teams from another league, according to the overall UEFA Nations League ranking.  
  • Each league will have a path of its own and each path will feature two single-leg semi-finals and one single-leg final. The winner of each path will win a ticket to UEFA EURO 2020.

How are the overall UEFA Nations League rankings calculated?

Within each league (A, B, C and D), the overall ranking will be calculated based on position in the group then points, goal difference, goals scored, away goals scored, wins, away wins, disciplinary points, coefficient ranking.

What are the advantages for national associations and teams?

National associations and coaches, in consultations with UEFA, revealed that they feel that friendly internationals are not providing adequate sporting competition. The UEFA Nations League creates more meaningful and competitive matches for teams and a dedicated calendar and structure for national team football.

Top teams can also aspire to take part in the UEFA Nations League Finals, a new top-level event.

For middle-ranking and smaller nations, the UEFA Nations League will offer an extra way to qualify for UEFA EURO final tournaments. Lower-tier countries – the bottom 16 in the rankings – are now guaranteed one of the 24 qualifying slots for UEFA EURO.

Lower-ranking teams who have struggled against sides ranked considerably higher than them will now get the chance to take part in balanced matches. Teams do not learn and progress by repeatedly losing; now some sides will start winning.

While the UEFA Nations League will replace most friendly internationals, there will still be space in the calendar for friendlies, especially for top teams who may want to face opposition from outside Europe as they will be in groups of three teams.

Associations and teams benefit from clarity of the fixture calendar, and there is now a clear buffer between the end of the UEFA EURO and FIFA World Cup, and vice versa, as well as stability of income.

What are the advantages for supporters?

Supporters more than most realise that most friendlies fail to deliver competitive and meaningful football. Now they will have the opportunity to see their teams play in more competitive matches, take part in a new competition and get a second chance to qualify for the major tournaments.

In every even year there are World Cup or UEFA EURO champions; now in every odd year there will be a UEFA Nations League winners. Football is about competition and now, just like in club football, there will be a national team champion at the close of every season.

Will this mean more demands on players and clubs?

No: the UEFA Nations League and European Qualifiers will adhere to the existing agreed international match calendar. UEFA is always keen to preserve the balance between club and international football. The new competition should, in fact, reduce demands on players and clubs with less travel envisaged for friendly games while national teams will be playing more consistently at their own level. With double-header matchweeks, players will even go back to their clubs earlier than is currently the case.

Is this just about generating more revenue?

No, finances are not a driver for the new competition. However, the competition will have the same centralised media rights as have recently been introduced for all European Qualifiers so associations will have even more stability in their income.

Will there be no more friendly internationals?

There will certainly be fewer friendly internationals and undoubtedly fewer meaningless friendlies. However, there will still be space in the calendar for friendly internationals – particularly warm-up matches for final tournaments. UEFA is also keen that European teams will still have the chance to play opponents from other confederations.

Tactical Lineups

Wales

1 Hennessey (G) 4 Davies 6 A. Williams (C) 7 Allen 10 Ramsey 11 Bale 13 Brooks 14 Roberts 15 Ampadu 17 Lawrence 20 Mepham

Substitutes

  • 12 Danny Ward (G)
  • 21 Adam Davies (G)
  • 2 Chris Gunter
  • 3 Paul Dummett
  • 5 James Chester
  • 8 Andy King
  • 9 Sam Vokes
  • 16 Joe Ledley
  • 18 Harry Wilson
  • 19 Thomas Lockyer
  • 22 Tyler Roberts
  • 23 Matthew Smith

Republic of Ireland

23 Randolph (G) 2 Coleman (C) 3 Christie 4 Duffy 5 Clark 8 O'Dowda 13 Hendrick 14 Robinson 17 Ward 19 Walters 22 Hourihane

Officials

  • Referee Clément Turpin
  • Assistant Referee Nicolas Danos
  • Assistant Referee Cyril Gringore
  • Additional Assistant Referee Ruddy Buquet
  • Additional Assistant Referee Nicolas Rainville
  • 4th Referee Hicham Zakrani
  • Uefa Delegate Charles Schaack
  • Referee Observer Johannes Reijgwart
  • Paul Henry Mckenna
  • Laurence Archer
  • Matthew Johnson

Minute by Minute Commentary

  • The match is under way.
  • 1" Ethan Ampadu (Wales) is penalised for a foul on Cyrus Christie (Republic of Ireland).
  • 2" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 6" Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Aaron Ramsey (Wales).
  • 6" Aaron Ramsey (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 6" Tom Lawrence (Wales) scores!
  • 7" Jon Walters (Republic of Ireland) is flagged for offside.
  • 7" Ashley Williams (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 8" Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) fouls.
  • 8" Wayne Hennessey (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 9" Tom Lawrence (Wales) is penalised for a foul on Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland).
  • 9" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 9" Conor Hourihane (Republic of Ireland) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Ethan Ampadu (Wales).
  • 10" Ashley Williams (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 14" Callum O'Dowda (Republic of Ireland) has a shot blocked.
  • 14" Ethan Ampadu (Wales) blocks a shot.
  • 14" Gareth Bale (Wales) fouls.
  • 14" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 15" Callum Robinson (Republic of Ireland) is adjudged to be in an offside position.
  • 15" Ashley Williams (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 16" Gareth Bale (Wales) misses the target.
  • 18" Gareth Bale (Wales) scores!
  • 22" Ethan Ampadu (Wales) is penalised for a foul on Callum Robinson (Republic of Ireland).
  • 22" Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 24" Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) takes the corner.
  • 24" Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Connor Roberts (Wales).
  • 25" Wayne Hennessey (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 27" Ashley Williams (Wales) fouls.
  • 28" Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 28" Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) delivers the corner.
  • 28" Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) is flagged for offside.
  • 29" Wayne Hennessey (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 29" David Brooks (Wales) misses the target.
  • 30" Chris Mepham (Wales) is penalised for a foul on Jon Walters (Republic of Ireland).
  • 31" Conor Hourihane (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 31" Tom Lawrence (Wales) has an attempt on goal.
  • 31" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 32" Conor Hourihane (Republic of Ireland) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Aaron Ramsey (Wales).
  • 32" Aaron Ramsey (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 34" Connor Roberts (Wales) misses the target.
  • 36" Callum Robinson (Republic of Ireland) misses the target.
  • 36" Gareth Bale (Wales) has an attempt on goal.
  • 36" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 37" Aaron Ramsey (Wales) scores!
  • 40" Callum O'Dowda (Republic of Ireland) fouls.
  • 40" Connor Roberts (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 42" Gareth Bale (Wales) is adjudged to be in an offside position.
  • 43" Ashley Williams (Wales) is penalised for a foul on Jon Walters (Republic of Ireland).
  • 43" Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 44" Tom Lawrence (Wales) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Stephen Ward (Republic of Ireland).
  • 44" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • The referee blows for half-time.
  • The second half begins.
  • 48" Aaron Ramsey (Wales) fouls.
  • 48" Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 50" Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) takes the corner.
  • 50" Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) has an effort on goal.
  • 50" Wayne Hennessey (Wales) blocks a shot.
  • 50" Aaron Ramsey (Wales) is penalised for a foul on Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland).
  • 51" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 51" Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Gareth Bale (Wales).
  • 51" Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) is cautioned by the referee.
  • 52" Joe Allen (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 52" Aaron Ramsey (Wales) has a shot blocked.
  • 52" Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 53" Conor Hourihane (Republic of Ireland) fouls.
  • 53" Ethan Ampadu (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 54" Gareth Bale (Wales) has a shot blocked.
  • 54" Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 55" Callum Robinson (Republic of Ireland) misses the target.
  • 55" Connor Roberts (Wales) scores!
  • 56" Shaun Williams (in) - Conor Hourihane (out) (Republic of Ireland)
  • 57" Gareth Bale (Wales) misses the target.
  • 58" Shaun Williams (Republic of Ireland) is penalised for a foul on Joe Allen (Wales).
  • 60" Ashley Williams (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 60" Tom Lawrence (Wales) is flagged for offside.
  • 61" Enda Stevens (in) - Stephen Ward (out) (Republic of Ireland)
  • 61" Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 62" Gareth Bale (Wales) is adjudged to be in an offside position.
  • 62" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 65" Joe Allen (Wales) has a shot blocked.
  • 65" Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 65" Gareth Bale (Wales) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland).
  • 65" Jeff Hendrick (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 66" Shaun Williams (Republic of Ireland) scores!
  • 67" Matthew Smith (in) - Ethan Ampadu (out) (Wales)
  • 67" Callum O'Dowda (Republic of Ireland) fouls.
  • 68" Matthew Smith (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 71" Jon Walters (Republic of Ireland) is flagged for offside.
  • 71" Joe Allen (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 73" Cyrus Christie (Republic of Ireland) is penalised for a foul on Ben Davies (Wales).
  • 73" Ben Davies (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 73" Chris Mepham (Wales) blocks a shot.
  • 74" Shaun Williams (Republic of Ireland) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Aaron Ramsey (Wales).
  • 74" Matthew Smith (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 75" Tyler Roberts (in) - Gareth Bale (out) (Wales)
  • 76" Matthew Smith (Wales) has an effort on goal.
  • 76" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 77" Daryl Horgan (in) - Callum Robinson (out) (Republic of Ireland)
  • 78" Tyler Roberts (Wales) has an attempt on goal.
  • 78" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 79" David Brooks (Wales) delivers the corner.
  • 80" Matthew Smith (Wales) fouls.
  • 80" Callum O'Dowda (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 81" Paul Dummett (in) - Ben Davies (out) (Wales)
  • 81" David Brooks (Wales) takes the corner.
  • 81" David Brooks (Wales) has a shot blocked.
  • 81" Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 82" David Brooks (Wales) delivers the corner.
  • 83" Tyler Roberts (Wales) is penalised for a foul on Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland).
  • 84" Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 85" David Brooks (Wales) has a shot blocked.
  • 85" Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 87" David Brooks (Wales) has a shot blocked.
  • 87" Enda Stevens (Republic of Ireland) blocks a shot.
  • 87" David Brooks (Wales) takes the corner.
  • 88" Ashley Williams (Wales) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland).
  • 88" Darren Randolph (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 88" Tom Lawrence (Wales) fouls.
  • 88" Seamus Coleman (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 90+4" Tyler Roberts (Wales) is adjudged to be in an offside position.
  • 90+4" Shane Duffy (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • 90+5" Cyrus Christie (Republic of Ireland) is penalised for a foul on Matthew Smith (Wales).
  • 90+5" Chris Mepham (Wales) takes the free-kick.
  • 90+5" Paul Dummett (Wales) gives away a free-kick for a challenge on Cyrus Christie (Republic of Ireland).
  • 90+5" Seamus Coleman (Republic of Ireland) takes the free-kick.
  • The final whistle is blown.