You know that sporting cliché, “We need a miracle.” Well, Wales need two. To stay in the World Cup, to make it out of the group stages and into the excitement of the knockout round of 16 in Qatar, Wales need two things to happen.
Ieuan Evans has vowed to modernise the Welsh Rugby Union, but without neglecting the community game after being appointed chair of the WRU. The decorated former Wales and British & Irish Lions wing, who also chairs the Lions Board, takes over from Rob Butcher who served two-years at the helm but stood down after the WRU’s recent 2022 Annual General Meeting. Evans follows inaugural chair Vernon Pugh QC, Glanmor Griffiths, David Pickering, Gareth Davies and Butcher to become the WRU’s sixth chair since 1993.
Dean Saunders has urged Wales manager Robert Page to ignore demands to axe Aaron Ramsey for the do-or-die World Cup clash against England. Wales midfielder Ramsey – so often the beating heart of Welsh triumphs over the years – has been a shadow of himself at the tournament so far. That has led to siren calls for him to be dumped by Page for the final group stage game, with either Joe Morrell, Jonny Williams, Dylan Levitt or Matthew Smith called in to replace him.
Gareth Bale believes in miracles and why shouldn’t he? This is a footballer who was once considered a cursed left back with Tottenham Hotspur who went on to win five Champions League titles as lethal attacker with Real Madrid. From a defender who always seemed to lose with Spurs, to a striker who won everything with the biggest club in the world.
Say it ain’t so, Joe. That phrase passed into sporting immortality when an American reporter allegedly asked baseball star ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson about his admission that he’d fixed the 1919 World Series. (He hadn’t). It was also asked – in a roundabout way – by reporters to Joe Allen on Sunday when he was quizzed on whether making the World Cup knockout stages in Qatar was now a lost cause.
Joe Allen insists Wales' final World Cup group clash against is not "mission impossible" and has also defended Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey against their critics. Wales will go into Tuesday’s game against their oldest enemy requiring two small miracles to occur simultaneously. Firstly, they have to beat England for the first time since 1984 and prevent their biggest rivals from gaining a seventh successive victory.
Warren Gatland will demand a cool £500,000 for nine months work to rescue Wales in the run-in to next year's World Cup. Gatland is the man the Welsh Rugby Union want to turn to should they decide to replace Wayne Pivac. Gatland's successor has won just three out of 12 matches this year and watched his team undermine his survival chances when they surrendered a 21-point lead to lose 39-34 at home to Australia on Saturday.
Brennan Johnson insists Wales can shock England and keep their World Cup dream alive. Wales’ hopes of making the knockout stages were left hanging by a thread after losing 2-0 to Iran. England’s goalless draw with the United States on Friday night means that Wales still have a path to the round of 16, but qualification is out of their own hands unless they beat Gareth Southgate’s side by a four-goal margin.
Republic of Ireland
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