Weblog: The football punter

History suggests a tough night for the Dragons

GIVEN Wales’s rich and proud football history, none of us should be in the least bit surprised that the ninth best side in the world can all but seal their place at yet another major finals this week.

A victory in Cyprus – surely a given when you consider the world rankings – and Chris Coleman and his boys are within spitting distance of a spot at Euro 2016.

The history books say Cyprus – they’ve won both previous meetings in Limassol, both in the last ten years, and you’ll doubtless be amazed to know that Ryan Giggs didn’t feature in either – but the formbook snarls Wales.

Now I am happy to doff my hat to history and pay due regard to the formbook, but the all-important odds tell me Wales are a rock-solid lay. Yes, even this world-beating group of Welshmen.

It’s one of the few amusingly competitive betting heats on the first night of the latest round of games on the seemingly never-ending road to France, trumped only by Bulgaria against Norway, two nations in with a shout of finishing anywhere from first to fifth in Group H.

Bulgaria have won in Malta and drawn with Italy in 2015 which looks like decent enough form to ensure a home win.

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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY SS1

Cyprus v Wales

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Cyprus have won just one of their last nine home games
Expert verdict
The draw is a decent runner in this contest, but Cyprus really must win to maintain contact with third place and their limited home attack will have to press forward as the game progresses. That could allow Wales to do what they do best and nick it on the break late on thanks to the counter-attacking speed of Gareth Bale.