Georgia vs Wales Preview: Crucial game for Bale-less Welsh in World Cup qualifying

Previewing Chris Coleman’s side’s clash with Georgia.

Georgia vs Wales Preview: Crucial game for Bale-less Welsh in World
Cup qualifying
Ben Woodburn celebrating his goal against Austria. (Photo: Michael Steele/Getty)

Wales travel to Georgia in the first of their two crucial World Cup qualifying games.

Wales currently sit second in Group D, behind Serbia and above Republic of Ireland, but currently do not qualify for the play-offs as they haven’t picked up enough points against the top five teams in the group.

Wins against Georgia and against Republic of Ireland will boost their chances, but they will have to do so without their star man.

No Bale no party?

Chris Coleman’s side will be without Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale for both fixtures.

Wales did well to dispel the ‘one man team’ myth during Euro 2016, reaching the Semi-Finals with outstanding performances from Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies, Chris Gunter and Joe Allen among several others.

However, Wales have not won a game without Bale since 2013, and he will be a significant loss ahead of their most important World Cup games in over 50 years.

Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn could replace Bale in the starting side, after impressive performances off the bench against Austria and Moldova, but Coleman seems hesitant to slot him there.

Hal Robson-Kanu could play alongside Sam Vokes, with Ramsey making up the attacking trident. 

 

The quotes

With a difficult qualifying campaign, Coleman said: “We are in good shape. It is all to play for. We have always been a little half a step behind, but we have injuries this campaign which we never had last campaign [for Euro 2016]. “

He went on to say: “But you don’t get there with ones and twos, it is about everybody. This campaign we haven’t always had Bale, Aaron Ramsey or Joe Allen.

“They are obviously three super-special players and we haven’t always had them,” The trio have missed extended minutes. “But the lads who have come in have been absolutely magnificent.”

Previous meeting

The two sides previously met in Cardiff, when Georgia grabbed a crucial away point by drawing 1-1 in October 2016.

Bale put the hosts ahead early, before Tornike Okriashvili levelled the game in what was a difficult game for Wales.

Georgia made a very good account of themselves, and few would begrudge calling them the better side on the day.

This game won’t be easy for Wales, Republic of Ireland recently went to Georgia and only managed a point after being the latest team to get outplayed by Kakhaber Tskhadadze’s side.

Predicted XI

Georgia: Makaridze; Kakabadze, Kverkvelia, Kashia, Navalovski; Kvekveskiri, Gvilia, Jigauri, Ananidze, Qazaishvili; Kvilitaia

Wales: Hennessey; Gunter, Chester, Williams, Davies, Taylor; Ledley, Allen; Ramsey, Vokes, Robson-Kanu

International Football