Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales failes to qualify for the World Cup just two years later, as Republic of Ireland clinched a play-off spot at their expense.

In the absence of key man Gareth Bale, it was Ireland’s James McClean who took centre stage as he fired in a brilliant strike to keep Irish hopes of a place at Russia 2018 alive. After a series of defensive errors from Chris Coleman’s side allowed the West Brom attacker the opportunity to score a well-taken goal, the Welsh failed to craft many opportunities against Martin O’Neill’s resilient team. Serbia topped Group D after beating Georgia but Ireland still have a shout of joining them as they take their place among the sides in the play-offs. Ireland took the lead in dramatic circumstances.

A risky roll out from Welsh stopper Wayne Hennessey put Ashley Williams in a spot of bother as Jeff Hendrick pinched the ball off him before crossing the ball from the right as McClean smashed the ball into the bottom corner. Minutes later, a goal for Croatia in Ukraine made matters even worse for Coleman’s men as it meant they would crash out even if they could snatch a draw from Irish hands.


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