World Cup 2022 qualifying: Wales to attack Estonia ‘from first minute’

Robert Page
Robert Page has taken charge of 16 Wales games in the continued absence of manager Ryan Giggs
Venue: A. Le Coq Arena, Tallinn Date: Monday, 11 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, plus live text and score updates on the BBC Sport website and app. Highlights on Match of the Day Wales on BBC One Wales from 22:35 BST.

Wales are vowing go all-out in attack in Monday’s World Cup qualifier away against Estonia to avoid a repeat of last month’s goalless draw.

With automatic qualification all but impossible, the play-offs are Wales’ only realistic remaining hope of making it to Qatar next year.

Wales are third in Group E, trailing the second-place Czech Republic on goal difference but with a game in hand.

“We need to go for it from the first minute,” said manager Robert Page.

“The players you’ll see on the pitch will be down to what we did at the back end of the game against the Czech Republic [2-2 draw on Friday]. You’ll see our intent.

“You’ll see we’ll have players on the pitch that can get us goals.”

Only group winners qualify automatically and, with an eight-point lead, only the unlikeliest sequence of results can stop leaders Belgium from finishing top.

Wales are already effectively guaranteed a play-off place thanks to their success in the Nations League, but finishing second in this World Cup qualifying group could secure a more favourable draw in that knockout stage.

Wales’ draw with the Czech Republic in Prague was a thrilling encounter in which the visitors missed several chances to score a winner.

“We could be sat here with six points [from the past two games] and instead we’ve got two and that’s frustrating,” said Page, whose side were held to a disappointing goalless draw by Estonia in September’s reverse fixture.

“There’s always room for improvement. We’ve given ourselves a chance, it’s in our hands.”

Team news

Wales have no new injury concerns following their draw in the Czech Republic.

They remain without captain Gareth Bale, Ben Davies, David Brooks, Tom Lockyer and Rhys Norrington-Davies due to injury and illness.

The likes of full-back Connor Roberts and attacking midfielder Harry Wilson could be challenging for a start against Estonia after impressing from the bench in Prague.

“I don’t think [there will be] too many surprises with team selection, the way we finished and how strong we were against the Czechs,” Page added.

“The chances we had when we dominated the game, we’ll factor that in.

“We’ve set the bar high now and we have to match those standards game in, game out.”

Estonia will be without 17-goal striker Henri Anier and midfielder Vladislav Kreida as both collected second tournament yellow cards in Friday’s 2-0 win over Belarus.

Experienced defender Sandor Puri is again sidelined.

Match stats

  • Wales have never lost against Estonia in three previous meetings, though they drew 0-0 with them in September’s reverse fixture in this campaign.
  • Estonia have never led against Wales in three previous games against them, scoring just once, a Martin Reim penalty in a 2-1 defeat in May 1994.
  • Wales have only picked up two wins from their past 10 games in all competitions (drawing five and losing three), although they are unbeaten in their past three on the road.
  • Wales have only lost twice in their past 17 World Cup qualifiers, against Republic of Ireland in October 2017 and Belgium in March 2021.
  • Danny Ward’s own goal against the Czech Republic on Friday was the first by a Wales player since June 2019, when James Lawrence put the ball in his own net against Croatia in a European Championship qualifier.
  • Aaron Ramsey has been directly involved in eight goals in his last 11 qualifying matches for Wales, scoring six times while providing a further two assists.
  • Daniel James scored for the first time in eight appearances for Wales in Prague on Friday, with his previous goal for the national team also coming against Czech Republic in March.
  • James’ goal was also the first of his five for Wales to be scored away from Cardiff City Stadium, while only Kieffer Moore (six) has scored more goals for Wales since James made his debut in November 2018.

BBC News