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World Cup Qualifiers: Georgia vs Wales lineups, preview, & prediction

Wales head off to Tiblisi in need of three points to keep their hopes of Russia 2018 alive. Can Chris Coleman's men get the win?


17:00 (BST); Friday 6th October; Boris Paichadze Dinamo Tbilisi Arena (Tbilisi); Sky Sports main event

Wales have never beaten Georgia, registering three defeats and a draw. However, they need to come back to Cardiff with maximum points this time because their hopes of going to Russia are hanging by a thread, with Austria and the Republic of Ireland breathing down their necks. A slip here will put everything in jeopardy.

Last time out

Georgia 1-1 Austria

Georgia picked up a surprising point against Austria that will serve as a warning for Wales. An early goal from Valerian Gvilia made Georgia’s trip to Austria far more than anyone thought it would. While Louis Schaub was able to get Austria level before they half they couldn’t find a winner.

Wales 2-0 Moldova

Wales left it late against Moldova last time. Needing 80 minutes to find the back of the net. Youngster Ben Woodburn sent a cross in that was met by the diving head of Hal Robson-Kanu to open the scoring, and Aaron Ramsey’s deflected strike in injury time sealed the three points.



Georgia lineup

Wales lineup

Brilliant without Bale?

For all their impressive performances since the start of Euro 2016, the Welsh side have relied on the presence of Gareth Bale to create, distract, and score. However, due to a calf injury, the Real Madrid winger will be absent for both this game and Monday's game against Ireland.

Bale has so often been the man to unlock the opposition for Wales, netting four times in seven games during this qualifying period. Without him the Welsh can ill-afford to be toothless.

They will need good performances from their midfield duo of Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen, but they will also hope that youngster Ben Woodburn, already the "next Gareth Bale" can continue his early success for his country.

If those three perform then Wales should be able to overcome the absence of Bale, but if Ramsey looks up expecting to see #11 flying down the channel he is going to be sorely disappointed.

No fear

Wales need a win. They simply have to come home with three points, and that means having no fear in attacking. Georgia can be tough side to break down at home, and will be a tricky team to score on without Bale, but Wales have to be willing to commit men forward in the search for goals.

That means getting Ben Davies and Chris Gunter up field and stretching the Georgia back line. Wales will need to put many, many crosses in for Sam Vokes and that will require possession as well.

A draw is just as bad a loss for Wales, so they can't go into this game playing to "not lose", they have to play to win.

Prediction: Georgia 0-2 Wales

Chris Coleman's men come out firing and get a goal quickly before adding a second after halftime. This could be a defining moment for The Dragons, who haven't made a World Cup since 1958. The complicated playoff table rules could see them miss out even if they do win both these games, so there is no room for error.

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Toby Durant

A passionate and opinionated writer, I am currently the NFL editor for RealSport. However, I also contribute to F1, WWE, Football, and other sections of the site, and I have covered the NFL International Series for RealSport and previously contributed to SB Nation.

 

I also have 10 years playing and coaching experience in American football, starting at the University of Nottingham and including a stint as defensive coordinator at Oxford Brookes University. I may be a Patriots fan but all aspects of the sport interest me, from guard play to special teams.

World Cup Qualifiers: Georgia vs Wales lineups, preview, & prediction

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