Wales v Moldova – Cardiff City Stadium at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 1
After a fantastic Euro 2016 campaign for Chris Coleman and Wales, the Welsh nation now aim to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and they kick off their campaign with a home game against Moldova on Monday night.
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What can you say about Wales’ summer? Literally beyond all expectations they made the semi-finals and were so close to making history for such a small nation in their debut tournament. Beating the likes of Russia and favourites Belgium to reach the semi-finals, only to lose 2-0 to eventual winners Portugal in a game where they were second best.
Now it’s a new chapter as Chris Coleman hopes to qualify for the World Cup in Russia in a difficult group alongside Republic of Ireland, Austria and Serbia.
In the current squad, Aaron Ramsey is missing due to an injury. Gareth Bale has been included alongside familiar faces in Ashley Williams and Joe Allen. Furthermore, Euro 2016 hero Robson Hal-Kanu joins the squad after recently signing for West Brom.
The Dragons remain unbeaten in their last four matches. At home they have only lost two of their last 12 games in all competitions. At the Cardiff City Stadium, Wales have played here 17 times winning nine and scoring 23 goals, with their last match in Cardiff ending in a 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland in a friendly.
Their opponents Moldova, on the other hand, will want to improve from their qualifying campaign for the European Championships. They didn’t win a single match in what was a difficult group. Alexandru Curteian’s side earned just two points out of a possible 30 only scoring four goals in ten matches.
2016 has, in a way, been an improvement for the small nation considering they picked up their first win in two years against Andorra in a 1-0 win away from home. However, Dobrovolski’s team have only won two of their last 15 games on the road in all competitions.
Not many familiar faces in the Moldova side with a majority of team members playing their football in their home nation, while Artur Ionita plays for Cagliari and most capped midfielder Alexandru Gatcan features for Rostov.
Not sure what Moldova will be expecting from this qualifying campaign, I think if they can get a total of five points or more than that would be a massive achievement for this nation that has never competed in a European Championship or World Cup.
The last time these two nations met was in 1995 and Wales won 1-0, but when they met a year earlier the hosts Moldova won 3-2.
Wales will win this one, but it will be difficult considering Moldova will go to the Cardiff City Stadium looking to shut-up shop. However, with Gareth Bale in their team I expect a few goals.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Wales -1.5 @ 1.87 with Unibet
Prices correct at time of writing.