Wales set their sights on Estonia – the talking points before the Tallinn match

The two sides played out a goalless draw in Cardiff last month.

Phil Blanche
Sunday 10 October 2021 10:58
Wales meet Estonia in Tallinn on Monday hoping to keep World Cup qualifying hopes alive (Nick Potts/PA)
Wales meet Estonia in Tallinn on Monday hoping to keep World Cup qualifying hopes alive (Nick Potts/PA)

Wales continue their World Cup qualifying campaign against Estonia in Tallinn on Monday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the main talking points surrounding the Group E clash as Wales seek to boost their bid for a World Cup play-off place.

Scrap for second spot

Belgium will qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Qatar should Wales fail to beat Estonia. Even if Wales win, qualification is a matter of time for Belgium who are eight points clear. The Czech Republic and Wales are locked on eight points in the battle for second spot, with the Dragons having a game in hand. The battle for a play-off place is a nail-biter with the Czech Republic due to visit Belarus on Monday and host Estonia next month. Wales finish with closing November home games against Belarus and Belgium.

Ramsey key for Wales

Wales captain Aaron Ramsey led by example in their 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic (Petr David Josek/AP)

Aaron Ramsey had played just 105 minutes for Juventus this season before Wales’ 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic on Friday. But Ramsey shrugged off fears over his fitness to produce a masterful midfield performance in Prague. Taking the armband with Gareth Bale sidelined by injury, Ramsey opened the scoring with his 18th Wales goal and came close to claiming a second-half winner. Wales will be hoping for more of the same from Ramsey in Estonia to keep their World Cup dream alive.

Is it time for Harry’s game?

Harry Wilson could return to the Wales starting line-up in Estonia (Nick Potts/PA)

Harry Wilson has had a difficult few months on the international stage. Wilson was sent off against Denmark as Wales exited Euro 2020 in the summer, missed a penalty in the following friendly with Finland and was forced off with a head injury in the World Cup stalemate at home to Estonia. But Wilson’s second-half arrival in Prague turned the tide back Wales’ way. The Fulham forward set up Daniel James’ equaliser and could be rewarded with a starting spot in Talllinn.

Ward aiming to make up for howler

Danny Ward scored a calamitous own goal against the Czech Republic in Prague (PA Wire via CTK)

Danny Ward will not forget his blunder in the Czech Republic for some time. Ward scored a bizarre own goal after failing to control Ramsey’s back pass and ended up in the back of the net with the ball. Ward has been pretty much faultless since displacing Wayne Hennessey as Wales’ number one and boss Robert Page insisted he would “bounce back” from his mistake. The Wales fans cheered Ward at the end of Friday’s 2-2 draw and the Leicester goalkeeper will hope to be back to his best against Estonia.

Will Cardiff draw stir Wales?

Gareth Bale rues a missed chance during Wales’ goalless draw against Estonia in Cardiff (Nick Potts/PA)

It is just over a month since Wales failed to break down a stubborn Estonia side at the Cardiff City Stadium. Arsenal teenage goalkeeeper Karl Hein was superb on the night and Bale struck a post late on as Wales were frustrated in a 0-0 draw. The loss of those two points might prove costly to Wales in the final qualifying reckoning, but Page hopes it will act as motivation in the Tallinn return. Wales had won their two previous meetings with Estonia, both friendlies – 2-1 away in 1994 and 1-0 at Llanelli in 2009.

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