Noel King 'optimistic' ahead of Republic of Ireland U21s clash against Israel

Jessica Allison
October 10, 2017

James McClean was the hero as the Republic of Ireland secured a tense 1-0 victory over Wales in a shoot-out for a World Cup play-off spot at the Cardiff City Stadium.

It's as tight as can be at the top of Group D with Serbia now in pole position for an automatic qualifying spot but either side can still top the group themselves if they are victorious and The Eagles slip up at home to Georgia, although on the evidence of the campaign so far that is fairly unlikely.

Needing victory to ensure top spot in European qualifying Group I, goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Gudmundsson ensured Iceland would be on the plane to Russian Federation 2018.

If Serbia lose to Georgia tonight and Wales win the Chris Coleman's men can qualify automatically.

Long started Friday night's 2-0 victory over Moldova, which kept Ireland's qualification hopes alive, but it was strike-partner Daryl Murphy who scored both goals in Dublin.

But what results do we need to make it to Russian Federation? The thinking is that as a result of the tune being stopped, the Red wall of supporters would create a handsome a cappella version of the song that would really get the player's up for the occasion.

That was the least of their worries, though, as a resolute Ireland continued to drop deeper, with Wales lacking that creative spark to find a way through. In short, both teams were setting their stalls out to win. "If we beat Wales, we're confident that we'll have a play-off spot".

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"There is nothing for the players to fear", said Coleman. "We'll get in tomorrow morning, prepare for Wales and give it a hell of a go".

Manager King said: "We go into the game full of confidence".

'We have to try and contain our excitement because we've always wanted to be in these games where everything is on it'.

Switzerland lead by three points at the top of Group B but Portugal have a better goal difference so a win for Cristiano Ronaldo's side will see them top the group.

After a sensational run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, elimination will come as a bitter blow for Wales, whose wait to reach a World Cup finals for the first time since 1958 continues.

If either Croatia or Ukraine win and Wales draw then Wales will be the worst second-placed team.

Other reports by My Hot News

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