DUBLIN (AP) Ireland manager Martin O’Neill is upbeat over his team’s chances of beating Wales in their must-win soccer World Cup qualifier in Cardiff on Monday.
“It’s there for us, let’s go for it,” O’Neill told Irish broadcaster RTE after their 2-0 win over Moldova on Friday.
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Two goals from Daryl Murphy gave Ireland victory, while Tom Lawrence‘s strike was enough for Wales to win 1-0 at Georgia and keep both sides in contention to reach Russia.
Top spot in Group D and automatic World Cup qualification is still up for grabs too after leaders Serbia slipped to a 3-2 defeat against Austria. Serbia can secure a spot in Russia with a home win over Georgia on Monday.
Wales is second, a point behind Serbia, with the Irish another point further back.
The group winner qualifies automatically for the finals in Russia. The best eight second-place finishers from the nine groups in Europe advance to the playoffs.
“It’s great. We know what we have to do, we have to win a game. We have to win a game in Cardiff and the chances are there for us,” O’Neill said.
Ireland hasn’t qualified for a World Cup since 2002. Wales’ last appearance was in 1958, when it reached the quarterfinals. Chris Coleman’s Welsh team reached the semifinals at Euro 2016, inspired by Gareth Bale.
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Bale missed Friday’s win over Georgia and is also out of the showdown with Ireland after he picked up a calf injury playing for Real Madrid.
There is better news for Ireland, with James McClean and Robbie Brady available after they both served one-match suspensions. Team captain Seamus Coleman and striker Jon Walters miss out due to injury.