PREVIEW: Wales v Northern Ireland

Updated: March 23, 2016

Wales and Northern Ireland begin their build-up to this summer’s Euro 2016 at Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday night (KO 19:45).


Wales v Northern Ireland

Date: Thursday March 24

Venue: Cardiff City Stadium

Kick-off: 19:45 – LIVE text updates on Let’s Talk Sport‘s Twitter, audio updates and reaction on LTSAudioBoom


Team news



Gareth Bale


Wales manager Chris Coleman will be without the big names who contributed to the team’s successful qualification including Gareth Bale (calf), Aaron Ramsey (thigh), James Collins (hamstring) and Hal Robson-Kanu.


Fulham defender Jazz Richards comes in to replace Newcastle United’s Paul Dummett (hamstring). Richards’ club team-mate George Williams will feature due to the absence of Andy King and David Edwards (foot surgery).


Northern Ireland


West Brom’s Chris Brunt will miss the friendly after picking up a knee injury against Crystal Palace at the weekend resulting in missing the Euros. Chris Baird has also been ruled out for the Welsh encounter.


Michael Smith and Conor Washington have been called up by manager Michael O’Neill.


What the managers said


Chris Coleman


“When we play these teams we don’t want to lose to a neighbouring country. We know Michael O’Neill and the mentality of Northern Ireland.


“They won’t see it as warm-up game for the tournament. It will be a feisty and that’s what we want. We want a proper game. I’m sure that’s what it will be.

‘Most of the players I know inside out. We have quite a few missing but that gives them a chance to have more time on the pitch. Up close and personal, as opposed to watch them at their respective clubs.”


Michael O’Neill


“We know that when we go to France we’re going to play against some very good teams and teams with some exceptional individual players which Gareth Bale is – Aaron Ramsey comes into that category too,” O’Neill said.


“It would have been good for our preparations to have to deal with that but equally the fact they are not playing sets us a different challenge. It’s been difficult to give the players as much meaningful information as possible because of their absence.


“When you look at Wales over the qualifying campaign, you see how influential Gareth Bale was in terms of his number of goals and assists. Finding footage of Wales without Gareth Bale is quite difficult. We think we’ve given the best information we can.


“It would be great if he had have been able to play. Chris (Coleman) is like me, he probably knows the vast majority of his squad that are going to go to the tournament, I’m sure the players that come in will want to stake their claim for an opportunity in the summer as well.”


Match facts


  • Wales are unbeaten in their last seven games against Northern Ireland
  • Northern Ireland ended a run of 23 friendly games without a victory by beating Latvia 1-0 last time out, thanks to a goal from Steve Davis
  • Wales’ loss to the Netherlands in November is their only in nine at home
  • Michael O’Neill’s men are unbeaten in eight games, the first time they have achieved that feat since the 1985-86 season under Billy Bingham




Wales wins: 28


Northern Ireland wins: 43


Draws: 23


A total of 94 matches has been played between Wales and Northern Ireland as the very first encounter took centre stage in 1882 for the British Championships, 84 games were regularly played in the competition.


Last meeting



May 2011


Northern Ireland 0-2 Wales (Aaron Ramsey 36′ & Robert Earnshaw 69′)


N Ireland: Tuffey (GK); Hodson, Coates, Cathcart (Dallas 63′), McAuley, Norwood, Carson, Garrett (Winchester 76′), McGinn (Owens 80′), Gorman, Feeney (Boyce 73′).


Substitutes: Blayney, Winchester, Dallas, Boyce, Owens, McQuoid.


Wales: Hennessey (GK); Gunter (Matthews 73′), Taylor, Collins, Gabbidon, Collison (Tudor Jones 62′), Cotterill, Ramsey (Dorman 89′), Vaughan, Bellamy (Earnshaw 62′), Morison (Vokes 80′).


Substitutes: Price, Myhill, Matthews, Morgan, Eardley, King, Tudor Jones, Dorman, Earnshaw, Vokes, Easter.


Who do you think will win this international friendly?



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