Wales v Hungary – Cardiff City Stadium at 19:45 GMT live at Sky Sports
Wales eased to a comfortable win in Azerbaijan on Saturday to set up a winner-takes-all match with Hungary for automatic qualification for Euro 2020 on Tuesday night in Cardiff. Kieffer Moore’s double sealed top honours for the Dragons as Ryan Giggs’ side coasted to crucial Group E victory.
With Croatia securing top spot in the pool when coming from behind to overcome Slovakia, Wales’ task is now clear. Beat second-placed Hungary and the hosts will pinch a top two finish and avoid the agony of March’s play-offs. A draw here could allow Slovakia the opportunity to sneak into second.
Having suffered so many agonising qualifying near misses in the past, Wales will be eager to take the lottery of a play-off out of the equation to secure what would be only their third appearance at a major tournament. And having waited 58 years between their first and second appearances – the Dragons will be anxious not to endure another long barren spell.
Wales at full-strength?
Giggs said in the build-up to the match in Baku that he was planning for the fixture with one eye on the group finale in Cardiff. Wales needed to win both matches so, although beating Azerbaijan was the initial priority, the Dragons boss had to ensure his squad was ready and refreshed for Tuesday too.
Former Wales and Manchester United captain left Aaron Ramsey on the bench at the Bakcell Arena and should return to the fold here. A series of injuries meant the Juventus midfielder had not yet featured in this qualifying campaign, and his return to fitness has to be regarded as a major boost for these crunch contests.
Wales’ position of strength in Azerbaijan also meant they were able to take star man Gareth Bale off after an hour, limiting his exertions and ensuring he avoided a third yellow card of the campaign which would have caused him to miss this match through suspension; Ramsey enjoying a 30-minute workout in Baku.
Ramsey and Bale have not lost a qualifier while playing together since a 2-0 defeat in Bosnia in October 2015 and the duos influence could be key. The Dragons boast a W9-D3-L4 record since the start of the Euro 2016 qualification campaign when the trio of Bale, Ramsey and Joe Allen have all started.
Dragons can deliver
Each of these came in competitive matches, while the only teams to prevent Wales winning were Denmark (twice), Ireland, Serbia, England, Bosnia and Belgium. With that in mind, there has to be plenty of appeal in backing the confident and full-compliment hosts to overcome a -0.50 Asian handicap at 1.93.
Since qualifying for Euro 2016, Hungary have W2-D3-L9 on their travels with their only triumphs coming against Azerbaijan and Latvia. The guests have suffered defeats in Andorra and Luxembourg during that sample, have fired blanks in seven of 14 fixtures and were comfortably overcome by Croatia and Slovakia, suggesting Wales should be well capable of delivering a knockout blow.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Wales -0.50 at 1.930
Preview by: MarkOHaire.