Wales v Slovakia Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
March 22, 2019
Cardiff City Stadium - Euro 2020 Qualifying
Wales host Slovakia in the opening game of their European Championships qualifying campagin, with bookies struggling to seperate the two. With Croatia favourites to top the group, Slovaki and Wales ware expected to fight it out for second place.
Wales game out on top when the two sides last met, despite an early opening goal from Gareth Bale being cancelled out in the second half by Ondrej Duda. It took an 81st minute strike from Hal Robson-Kanu to take all three points for the home side.
Ethan Ampadu, Sam Vokes and Tom Lawrence are all set to miss out against Slovakia, however, Gareth Bale is likely to be handed a start having sat the last game out. Aaron Ramsey may also feature despite being unable to train during the week.
Pavel Hapal is likely to field a widely similar XI to that which featured against Hungary, viewed in general as the country's strongest side. Captain Market Hamsik will line up in midfield, whilst Newcastle's Martin Dúbravka and Inter Milan's Milan Škriniar will both feature.
Wales v Slovakia Predictions and Previews
With bookies placing both Wales and Slovakia at 9/10 to qualify in the top two of Group E, Sunday's game will be a key fixture for both sides.
Gareth Bale has a number of injuries to contend with, and is clearly concerned with the fitness of captain Gareth Bale, yet is likely to field his strongest possible side against Pavel Hapal team. Wales managed to scrape a narrow win in their friendly against Trindan and Tobago in the week, thanks to an injury time goal from Ben Woodburn.
Liverpool's attacking midfielder may have been earmarked by Giggs as the future lynch-pin of the Welsh side, but struggled to create much in the game. Instead, Rotherham's debuting Will Vaulks impressed in the absence of a similar-mould of midfielder in Ramsey, with Barnsley winger Ryan Hedges also showing flashes of his potential going forwards.
Slovakia's mid-week game was far more emphatic, with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over rivals, Hungary, in what was expected to be a far more contested match. A first half goal from Herta Berlin's Ondrej Duda put the home side on the front foot, before Albert Rusnak fired in a second with just seven minutes remaining.
Slovakia's goalscorers show precisely what Wales have to be concerned about, with the two offensively minded midfielders adding the legs to Marek Hamsik's experience. Building on a foundation of a strong centre-back partnership, and Juraj Kucka remaining back, Hapal has given his side the license to rapidly push forward in numbers, attempting to overwhelm the opposition.
With a relatively young side likely to take to the field for Wales on Sunday, Giggs has to ensure that they don't lose concentration, and will hope that the individual quality of Bale is suffice to unlock the Slovakian defence.
Both teams to score at 10/11
Slovakia may attempt to shut up shop away from home, but if they do concede, have the quality to get past Joel Ward.
Gareth Bale to score anytime at 7/5
It may be the obvious bet, but Bale is Wales' star for a reason, and will have benefitted from a rest mid-week.