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Man Utd legend Giggs beams after Wales hiring

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Ryan Giggs has accepted an offer to coach the Wales men’s national team, calling it “an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”

His unveiling comes a day after reports he’d be hired by Wales for his first full-time managerial gig. The 44-year-old had a 2-1-1 record as interim boss of Manchester United.

“I want to get the fans off their seats,” Giggs said. “I’m going to give it my all like I did when I played. It is probably the proudest moment of my life to lead my country.”

[ MORE: Stoke fills manager post ]

Giggs made nearly 1000 appearances for Manchester United and 64 more for Wales in a glittering 23-year playing career. He won 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, and two UEFA Champions League trophies.

From the BBC:

“I’m not on social media so I haven’t seen much of the criticism. I know the criticism is going to come but the way to combat that is to win games.

“The beauty of football is everyone has an opinion. It’s about striking that balance. All I can do is work as hard as I can to produce a winning team.”

Wales missed out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup after a dramatic run to the semifinals of EURO 2016. The side has Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Ashley Williams, and Ben Davies amongst its assets.

Ryan Giggs set to be named next Wales manager

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A familiar face will be aiming to bring Wales towards World Cup contention for the 2022 cycle.

Several outlets are reporting that Ryan Giggs will be taking over as Wales manager, succeeding Chris Coleman who left his post with the Dragons in November 2017 to manage Sunderland in the English Championship.

[ MORE: Leroy Sane says “when,” not if, Man City wins PL title ]

The deal is expected to be four years for the former Manchester United midfielder, who last played in 2014.

Giggs, 44, represented Wales on 64 occasions throughout his career, scoring 12 goals in that span of matches.

Bale set to return to Madrid’s squad after injury layoff

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MADRID (AP) Gareth Bale is expected to make his return to Real Madrid’s lineup in a Copa del Rey match this week after being sidelined for more than two months because of injuries.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says the Wales forward has recovered from a left leg muscle injury and will play at least part of Tuesday’s match against Fuenlabrada at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

[ MORE: Lukaku dodges ban ]

Madrid won the first leg 2-0 against the third-division club.

Bale hasn’t played since Madrid’s 3-1 win at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Sept. 26. Plagued by injuries this season, his latest ailment came in practice while trying to recover from another muscle injury.

Reports: Chris Coleman steps down with Wales to accept Sunderland job

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Chris Coleman has been a hot name in the managerial game after making noise with Wales at the 2016 EURO Championships.

[ MORE: Man United looks to rebound against Newcastle ]

It appears the 47-year-old is about to embark on a new adventure though, with several reports indicating that Coleman will take over at Sunderland, who currently plays in the English Championship.

The Welsh FA revealed the following statement on Friday:

“We are extremely disappointed to see Chris’ tenure as Wales manager come to an end,” said Chief Executive Jonathan Ford.

“The FAW and Wales as a nation will be eternally grateful for the job he has done over the last six years as National Team Manager, from travelling the length and breadth of Wales outside of the media spotlight to talk to players and supporters, to guiding us to the semi-finals of the European Championships.

“We wish Chris the very best of luck for the future as he returns to club management, a desire for which he has always been honest and open about.”

The Black Cats currently sit dead last (24th place) in England’s second flight on 10 points through its opening 16 matches.

Sunderland finished the 2016/17 season at the bottom of the Premier League table, before being relegated ahead of the current campaign.

[ MORE: Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Rojo could return this weekend for Man United ]

Coleman helped guide the Welsh to the semifinals at EURO 2016, where his side fell to eventual champions Portugal. The Welsh had never previously qualified for the European Championships and hasn’t reached the World Cup since 1958.

UEFA Wrap: Rep. of Ireland beat Wales; Iceland qualifies for World Cup

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Call it luck of the Irish, or call it whatever you want.

The dream is still alive for the Republic of Ireland National Team.

The Boys in Green secured a place in the UEFA World Cup qualification playoff round with a 1-0 win on the road over Wales in Cardiff. James McClean‘s second-half strike inside the box was enough to keep Ireland alive while ending the campaign for Wales, which finished in third place.

It may not have affected the outcome, but Wales were without Gareth Bale due to a left calf injury. Following McClean’s goal in the 57th minute, Wales pressed and pressed, peppering the Ireland backline with chips and crosses into the box. But Ireland captain David Meyler led his side to keep a clean sheet as Ireland hung on to win.

Here’s a look at some other UEFA World Cup qualifying action.