WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFIER

Ireland vs. Wales team news: Bale and Ramsey start

The Real Madrid attacker starts along with the Arsenal midfielder as Chris Coleman's side look to catch up with Ireland, who top Group D.

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Wales' Gareth Bale and Joe Ledley before the match
Matthew Childs REUTERS

Martin O'Neill's Ireland side have won three and drawn just one of their opening four games in Group D to start the World Cup qualifiers. They top the group with Chris Coleman's Wales sitting in third on six points as the two sides play each other at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Friday night.

Republic of Ireland v Wales - 2018 World Cup Qualifying

General view before the matchRepublic of Ireland v Wales - 2018 World Cup Qualifying

Ireland team news

Martin O'Neill is forced into a number of switches as Robbie Brady is suspended and the likes of Wes Holohan, Shane Duffy and Ciaran Clark out injured. That means a starting spot for John O'Shea at centre-back but Ireland's attacking opponents are not to be sneezed at. Jeff Hendrick is much like the Gareth Bale of Ireland and will be needed for creativity and Shane Long will cause problems with his speed for Wales, who really need a win tonight.

Ireland XI: Randolph, Coleman, Keogh, O'Shea, Ward, McClean, Whelan, McCarthy, Hendrick, Walters, Long.

Wales' Gareth Bale and Joe Ledley before the match

Wales' Gareth Bale and Joe Ledley before the matchWales' Gareth Bale and Joe Ledley before the match

Wales team news

Gareth Bale is lacking match sharpness but that does not stop Chris Coleman from starting his talisman for the Republic of Ireland showdown at the Aviva that could go a long way to us figuring out how this group could look come the end of qualifying. Euro 2016 hero, Hal Rosbon-Kanu also starts up fron with Joe Allen, Aaron Ramsey and Joe Ledley in midfield.

Wales XI: Hennessey , Gunter, Taylor, Davies, Chester, Williams (C), Allen, Robson-Kanu, Ramsey, Bale, Ledley.