An injury plagued Wales side face the Czech Republic in a battle for second place in Group E to try and secure qualification in the 2022 World Cup.
Wales currently sit level on points in 3rd with the 2020 Euro quarter finalists, but have a game in hand on the Czech Republic, who occupy 2nd in the table.
Last time out in this fixture, Wales came out on top, after Dan James struck home his first headed goal of his career back in March, as the Welsh secured a 1-0 win in Cardiff.
Whilst Juventus’ Aaron Ramsey does return, Wales are currently without a few of their key men their game, with Spurs’ Ben Davies and Bournemouth’s David Brooks withdrawing from the squad with illness. However, the most notable exclusion is Gareth Bale.
The former Spurs man was on for his 100th cap for his country, but suffered a significant hamstring tear on his return to Real Madrid, ruling the Dragons’ captain out for their double header with Czech Republic and Estonia.
Robert Page, manager of Wales, has confidence that Bale should be okay for the final two qualifying games, as the Galactico is ‘recovering better than anticipated’ according to him.
Burnley’s Connor Roberts, however, believes that they can cope without Bale.
“You can’t replace Gareth, but when he’s not here we have to play even more as a team, understand certain players and what they’re good at.”
One notable exclusion for the Czech Republic is West Ham full back, Valdimir Coufal. The right back, who tallied seven assists for West Ham last season, didn’t travel with the squad, as well as Jan Boril, Lukas Masopust and Petr Sevcik of Slavia Prague not travelling either.
Depending on the set up and system of Wales, Huddersfield Town’s Sorba Thomas could make his international debut. The 22-year-old was named the Championship’s player of the month for August, resulting in a first call-up for the wing back, who already has seven goal contributions in the league this season (One goal, six assists).
The young Welshman is stunned with his call up, saying “Sometimes I pinch myself to make sure it’s not all a dream”, in relation to his call up.
Czech Republic may also call on one of their own youngsters, in the form of Adam Hlozek. The 19 year old has started his season for Sparta Prague well, with three goals and five assists, and has already been capped 10 times for his country, with four of those coming in the 2020 Euros.
The young forward provides even more goal threat alongside main striker and joint Euro 2020 top scorer, Patrick Schick.
With Belgium currently sitting nine points above both of these sides, it’s a massive battle for second place and could definitely decide the final positions of both countries come the end of the qualifiers.
In the midst of this crucial game, however, Robert Page has firmly expressed the fact that his team are prepared to walk off the pitch, in the wake of any racial abuse.
Wales travel to Prague only a week after Rangers’ Glen Kamara faced racial abuse in the Czech capital in a Europa League match and these events have obviously influenced the Wales boss.
“We won’t stand for it and there will be zero tolerance for any racial abuse”, stated Page
Czech Republic vs Wales kicks off today at 7:45pm.