Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Andorra V Wales
Tuesday 9th September. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 5
The race to reach Euro 2016 is already underway and it has already been a great opening set of fixtures for Britain’s lesser sides as Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland both started with fantastic away victories as Scotland put in an equally impressive display against the world champions.
Tuesday night sees Chris Coleman’s Wales head to Andorra for their Group B opener against the perennial whipping boys. It should be a routine win for the visitors but they will still need to perform to secure the perfect start to a campaign which they believe will end in the ultimate high.
Bale To Inspire Wales To First Step En Route To France
Euro 2016 will mark the 40th anniversary since Wales last qualified for a major tournament but the vastly improved Dragons can be optimistic as they prepare to enter the road to France.
Wales have been off the boil for far too long but the world’s 41st best side now possess a genuine chance of advancing through a qualifying campaign. Spearheaded by the world-class talents of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, there is a real sense of optimism as they look to end four decades of heartache and a trip to the Pyrenees offers a fantastic opportunity to get their campaign off to a flyer.
At their lowest point, Wales might have struggled to come through this test but they have recovered well in recent years and the work started by the deceased Gary Speed has been continued superbly by current boss Coleman.
Beating the likes of Iceland and Macedonia, along with draws against Belgium and Finland, will have provided a lift ahead of the new campaign and the visitors should have little trouble picking up the three points at the Comunal d’Andorra la Vella.
The extension from 16 to 24 teams naturally afford Wales with renewed hope of finally reaching a major tournament and they do possess enough quality to secure top two finish in Group B. They can fire an early warning shot to their rivals with a big win in Andorra.
Minnows Defence Key To Outcome
Even manager Koldo Alvarez would admit that his side have absolutely no chance of qualifying for the 2016 tournament and in truth their hopes of beating Wales are equally slim.
The minnows are ranked 199th in the FIFA rankings for a reason and have lost 48 of their past 50 international fixtures. However, despite that atrocious record, they do regularly put up a strong barrier and are capable of keeping the score relatively low.
Andorra’s main shortcomings come in possession, which is highlighted by a return of just two goals in 25 matches, and keeping a respectable scoreline will be their priority against Wales. They have previously restricted the Netherlands to just five goals over the course of two matches and if every man does his job then it wouldn’t be a massive surprise if the visitors don’t break the deadlock until later in the game, when fitness will inevitably play a part.
An artificial playing surface has raised some questions but this shouldn’t really impact the outcome too much. The home side will be hopeful as they look to contain the likes of Bale, Ramsey and Joe Allen, but there should be only one winner here.
It probably won’t be the greatest spectacle for the neutral but it will be interesting to see how Wales cope with this particular exercise, which will mainly be comprised of them trying to break through a 10-man defence.
Wales couldn’t have asked for a better opening contest and should get up and running in style.
Andorra V Wales Betting
Unsurprisingly, Wales enter this one as the overwhelming favourites and are priced 1/7 by Bet365. Meanwhile, the draw is available at 13/2 whilst a shock win for Andorra can be backed at 16/1.
There should be no doubt that Wales will start their campaign with three points and the real question is ‘how many?’. Andorra aren’t a strong outfit but are a well drilled team and their often resolute defence makes it hard for us to back the visitors on a – handicap, despite the fact they are more than capable of beating it.
However, we are pretty sure that Andorra will struggle in the attacking third and are therefore tipping Coleman’s men to keep a clean sheet.
Wales to win-to-nil is 4/6 with BetVictor
We already know that Andorra will try to contain Wales but star man Bale could prove too hot to handle for the minnows.
The 25-year-old is the world’s most expensive talent and could run riot against a team of amateur footballers, particularly in the second-half. If anyone is going to inspire the visitors to success then it will be the Real Madrid man.
Gareth Bale to score 2+ goals is 13/5 with Ladbrokes