Live Match Hub: UEFA Nations League
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14 October 2020

Live Match Hub: UEFA Nations League

GIGGS REFLECTS ON BULGARIA VICTORY

14 October 20209:38pm

Cymru manager Ryan Giggs spoke to Sky Sports following the 1-0 win over Bulgaria on Wednesday night and praised the performance of his young squad.

"I thought we deserved the win. I think it would have been a travesty if we hadn't won tonight. We played so well in the 1st half and just needed that last bit of quality, and we kept going, which is a good trait to have, to score late goals. It's a really proud moment for such a young team. The 2nd half got scrappy and they will learn so much from that tonight.

"I'm proud of them because they kept going and played the right way. We had a few experienced players missing, but it gives a chance to other players to come in. I know what they're capable of, I see it in training. There were some really good, strong performances out there tonight.

"Whenever we meet up Jonny (Williams) brings a smile to everyone's face, and he's played really for me in various positions. This position suited him tonight, and I knew he could come on and make an impact, which he did. It was a fantastic goal, the build-up was brilliant, and there will be no more popular player than Jonny Williams to score the winning goal.

"It's been hard work from the players. We want to be strong, defend from the front and press. The lads don't give in. We're really proud of that. We're in a good position. We've had three away games and it's not easy. We've come out of it really well but we can't be complacent."

WILLIAMS THE HERO IN BULGARIA WIN

14 October 20209:26pm

Jonny Williams scored his first goal for Cymru against Bulgaria in Sofia on Wednesday as he came off the bench to decide the 1-0 victory that moved Ryan Giggs' side back to the top of League B4.

Rhys Norrington-Davies was handed his debut and Cymru impressed in the opening half despite lacking the necessary cutting edge in the final third of the field. 

Bulgaria came out stronger in the 2nd half having failed to make an impression on the game during the the first period, but the 85th minute winner proved to the difference as the midfielder finished a superb cross from Neco Williams in style.

Here are a few images from the win.

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THE TEAMS ARE IN

14 October 20205:16pm

Ryan Giggs has named his starting line-up for the UEFA Nations League match against Bulgaria in Sofia this evening.

Ben Davies once again captains the team, while Rhys Norrington-Davies makes his senior international debut. Neco Williams scored the winning goal against Bulgaria in Cardiff last month and makes his first international start, while Chris Mepham returns to the centre of defence after injury.

Ethan Ampadu returns to midfield alongside Matthew Smith, while Tyler Roberts leads from the front with Daniel James and Harry Wilson in support.

Follow @Cymru for live updates throughout the match and check back here later for all the post-match reaction.

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PREVIOUS MEETINGS - BULGARIA v CYMRU

13 October 20205:11pm

This will be the tenth meeting between Bulgaria and Cymru, with the two nations currently tied on four wins each and a draw in the nine fixtures that have taken place since 1983.

A solitary goal from Jeremy Charles was enough for Cymru to claim victory when the two teams met for the first in April 1983 as Mike England's side celebrated at the Racecourse in Wrexham. However, Bulgaria would win the next three fixtures before a 0-0 friendly draw in Swansea in August 2006.

Brian Flynn was in temporary charge of the national team when Cymru suffered a 1-0 defeat to Bulgaria in October 2010 through a goal from Ivelin Popov, but a goal from Gareth Bale earned Gary Speed's team a 1-0 win in the return match the following year.

The most recent meeting took place in Cardiff last month as a late winner from Neco Williams (below) proved to be the difference. It was the sixth match out of nine between the two countries to finish 1-0.

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MEET THE REF

13 October 20204:52pm

Aliyar Aghayev of Azerbaijan will referee the UEFA Nations League match between Bulgaria and Cymru in Sofia on Wednesday night.

The 32-year old became a FIFA referee in 2013, and one of his first international appointments was the 5-5 draw between Hungary U17 and Cymru U17 in September that year. Meanwhile, his first full international match involved Bulgaria and their 2-1 friendly victory over Kazakhstan in June 2013.

Last season, Aghayev officiated in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, together with EURO 2020 qualifiers taking place in Malta, Poland and the Faroe Islands. He will be assisted on Wednesday by Akif Amirali and Zeynal Zeynalov while Rahim Hasanov is the fourth official. All of the officials are from Azerbaijan.

SQUAD UPDATE

13 October 20202:10pm

Aaron Ramsey has withdrawn from the Cymru squad for the UEFA Nations League match against Bulgaria on Wednesday night through injury.

The Juventus midfielder captained the side in the 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Sunday but will not be involved as Ryan Giggs' side look to extend their undefeated start to the campaign.

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PREPARATIONS CONTINUE

12 October 20205:13pm

The Cymru squad were back on the training ground earlier today ahead of the next UEFA Nations League fixture against Bulgaria on Wednesday.

Cymru lead the group at the midway stage and even manager Ryan Giggs rolled back the years to get involved in the session. Here are a few photos from training today.

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HOW IT STANDS IN LEAGUE B GROUP 4

12 October 20204:43pm

Despite being held to a 0-0 draw in Dublin on Sunday, Cymru remain top of their UEFA Nations League group ahead of the match against Bulgaria in Sofia on Wednesday night.

Ryan Giggs' side remain undefeated and are yet to concede a goal in the campaign after three games. However, the manager will be looking for an improved performance from his team against a side that were defeated in Cardiff last month by an injury time winner from Neco Williams.

Bulgaria suffered a 2-0 reverse against Finland in Helsinki on Sunday, and currently sit bottom of League B4 after three games. Elsewhere on Wednesday, the Republic of Ireland travel to Finland looking for their first victory.

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REACTION FROM BOTH TEAMS

11 October 20203:41pm

Following the 0-0 draw between the Republic of Ireland and Cymru in Dublin, the players and managers of both teams spoke to Sky Sports about the match and the result.

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny
"I think the players gave everything of themselves considering all that has happened. All of the players can be extremely proud of how they performed. I'm not saying it was a perfect performance, but it was an evenly contested game and we probably had the better chances overall. Considering the players had 120-minutes on Thursday night, they all showed a great attitude, but just couldn't get that goal."

Cymru manager Ryan Giggs
"It was a bit scrappy and we really didn't get into our rhythm and I think you've got to give credit to Ireland for that as they pressed us. I thought we started the second half a lot better, but again it got a little bit scrappy which suited Ireland more than us. Three games, three clean sheets, seven points, two away games so you have to be happy, but our performances need to get better, and they will. We need to create more, that comes from the build-up. We need to get our players who can make a difference on the ball quicker."

Republic of Ireland captain Shane Duffy
"Both sides cancelled each other out, and it's the same old story that we didn't take our chances. We showed there that we've got great spirit and togetherness. It took us a bit of time to get going, but it wasn't from a lack of trying, but we just didn't get the goal."

Cymru captain Aaron Ramsey
"We're on seven points now and we're quite happy with the way things have gone so far in the group. It was difficult here today, we found it hard at times but it's always a difficult place to come. Ireland have changed their game a little bit, they like to press a bit more now and they like to play with the ball. We had to try and adapt to that, and at times we found it difficult. We stuck at it though and we've come away with a point in the end. We'll take that and go again on Wednesday."

NO GOALS IN DUBLIN

11 October 20203:33pm

Cymru were held to a 0-0 draw in Dublin on Sunday but remain undefeated at the top of the UEFA Nations League Group B4 table.

Chances were and far between for both teams, while Ireland were reduced to ten men late in the match when James McClean was sent off for a foul on Ethan Ampadu. 

Aaron Ramsey made a welcome return to the squad and has handed the captains armband, and while striker Kieffer Moore passed a late fitness test, his booking means that he will now miss the next match against Bulgaria in Sofia on Wednesday night.

Here a few photos from the match.

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THE TEAMS ARE IN

11 October 202011:24am

Ryan Giggs has named his team for the UEFA Nations League match against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin this afternoon. 

Defender Chris Mepham misses out through injury having taken a knock in the defeat against England on Thursday, while Kieffer Moore is fit to start having recovered from his toe injury.

Aaron Ramsey takes the captains armband on his return to the side, while Harry Wilson, Matthew Smith and Daniel James are also named in the starting line-up

Follow @Cymru for live match updates and check back here later for all the post-match reaction.

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LEAGUE B GROUP 4 SITUATION

10 October 202010:55am

Cymru are the current leaders of League B Group 4 of the UEFA Nations League having enjoyed a perfect start to the campaign with victories over Finland and Bulgaria.

Ryan Giggs' side return to action against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Sunday before heading to Sofia on Wednesday to take on Bulgaria.

Bulgaria are also in action on Sunday when they take on Finland, while the Republic of Ireland will then travel to Helsinki on Wednesday.

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PREPARATIONS CONTINUE

10 October 202010:40am

The Cymru squad were back on the training ground and in the gym at their base in Ireland this morning as preparations for the UEFA Nations League fixture against the Republic of Ireland continued.

The fitness of striker Kieffer Moore remains in the balance as manager Ryan Giggs plans for the first of two crucial games in League B Group 4.

Here are a couple of photos from earlier today.

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MEET THE REF

10 October 202010:25am

Tasos Sidiropoulos of Greece will take charge of the UEFA Nations League match between the Republic of Ireland and Cymru in Dublin on Sunday afternoon.

The Greek Superleague referee took charge of three group stage fixtures in the UEFA Champions League last season in addition to EURO 2020 qualifiers in Belarus, Scotland and Austria. Sidiropoulos also officiated the Nations League match between England and Croatia in November 2018.

He will be assisted by Polychronis Kostaras and Lazaros Dimitriadis, while Anastasios Papapetrou is the fourth official. All of the match officials are from Greece.

LAST TIME IN DUBLIN

09 October 20201:55pm

It was two years ago this month that Cymru last played against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin as a superb free-kick from Harry Wilson earned Ryan Giggs' side a 1-0 win in the UEFA Nations League.

Despite being without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, Cymru completed the double over Ireland following the superb 4-1 win in Cardiff the previous month.

Wilson was named man of the match for his goal and his performance, and Giggs was quick to praise his contribution to Sky Sports after the match. "He does it all the time in training. It's practice, practice, practice."

Click the video below to watch highlights of that victory from October 2018.

CYMRU WAIT ON MOORE

09 October 20201:41pm

The injury suffered to striker Kieffer Moore (below) in the 3-0 defeat to England at Wembley Stadium on Thursday night is currently being assessed as Cymru prepare to take on the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Sunday.

The Cardiff City forward limped out of the match before half-time with a foot injury, while defender Chris Mepham will also be assessed following a knock he suffered late in the match. 

David Brooks and Harry Wilson were not included for the friendly against England and are expected to feature on Sunday along with Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

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Welcome to the Live Match Hub for Cymru's UEFA Nations League matches against the Republic of Ireland (11 October) and Bulgaria (14 October). 

This page will be updated regularly collating all the latest news and information ahead of the matches.