HomeSportsFootballSky Live: Serbia v Wales

Sky Live: Serbia v Wales

Sky Live: Serbia v Wales

Last Updated: 10/06/17 2:23pm

Gareth Bale is suspended after being booked in Wales' 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland

Gareth Bale is suspended after being booked in Wales' 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland

Gareth Bale is suspended after being booked in Wales’ 0-0 draw with the Republic of Ireland

Wales will be without Gareth Bale when they travel to face Serbia in a crucial World Cup Qualifier in Belgrade on Sunday.

The Real Madrid forward will miss the Group D encounter, which is live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 7.15pm, through suspension, after picking up a one-match ban for his second booking of the competition against the Republic of Ireland in March.

Serbia will be seeking to hammer home their advantage in the race for 2018 qualification. The Group D leaders are level on points with the Republic of Ireland and the pair have a four-point lead over third-placed Wales.

Wales boss Chris Coleman suffered the lowest moment of his reign as Serbia ran riot in Novi Sad in September 2012 when the two teams met in 2014 World Cup qualifying.

Sky Live: Serbia v WalesSky Live: Serbia v Wales

June 11, 2017, 7:15pm

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But former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has dismissed suggestions that Wales’ 6-1 thrashing in Serbia nearly five years ago will have any bearing on their World Cup reunion.

“I think after that game, Wales had a lot of success and that game was a turning point for them,” Serbia skipper Ivanovic said at his pre-match press conference.

“That kind of game doesn’t happen very often. But there is not any connection between that game and now.”

Meanwhile, Coleman, who admitted the 6-1 thrashing is still painful for him, is looking forward to the challenge of getting a victory at Crvena Zvezda Stadium that would revive their qualification campaign.

Chris Coleman has named a depleted squad for the trip to Serbia

Chris Coleman has named a depleted squad for the trip to Serbia

Chris Coleman has named a depleted squad for the trip to Serbia

“That [defeat] will never leave me,” Coleman said. “It will be like that if I went back to Belgrade with my wife for the weekend!

“But I can’t wait for it. I know it’s going to be tough, but I like meeting those challenges. With [Gareth Bale] in the team or not, I can’t guarantee a win. And we’re desperate for a win. But what we must do is perform.”

Team news

Serbia have a near full-strength squad to pick from for the clash against Wales.

Nemanja Radoja and Ljubomir Fejsa have both withdrawn from the squad through injury, but they are manager Slavoljub Muslina’s only absentees.

Hal Robson-Kanu has left Wales' squad

Hal Robson-Kanu has left Wales' squad

Hal Robson-Kanu has left Wales’ squad

Wales must manage without James Collins, Neil Taylor, Andy King, Ben Woodburn, Hal Robson-Kanu and the suspended Bale as Coleman prepares to shuffle his hand.

Coleman has named five uncapped players in his squad for the trip to Belgrade, including defenders Joe Walsh, Tom Lockyer and Gethin Jones, as well as midfielder Lee Evans and forward Marley Watkins.

Opta stats

Wales have never beaten Serbia in an international, losing four of five contests (including games against Serbia & Montenegro in 2003).

Chris Coleman’s 6-1 defeat to Serbia in September 2012 in his first away qualifier in charge of Wales is his heaviest loss in charge of the national team.

Wales will be without the suspended Bale, who scored both of their goals against Serbia in their last three meetings, with the goals coming in the 30th and 31st minutes.

Four of Wales’ eight qualifying goals in this campaign have been scored by Bale.

Wales trained without Bale on Wednesday ahead of their game against Serbia

Dusan Tadic has been directly involved in 11 of Serbia’s 12 goals in qualifying so far, scoring four and assisting a further seven times.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored four times in his last three qualifiers for Serbia, including against Wales in November 2016.

Wales have drawn their last four matches – they’ve never in their history drawn five in succession.

Since Wales’ home defeat to Serbia in World Cup 2014 qualifying (0-3 in Sept 2013), they’ve lost only one qualifying match home or away under Chris Coleman (W8 D8).

Charlie Nicholas’ prediction

Serbia are a strong side but at least Wales have got Aaron Ramsey back in form.

Aaron Ramsey is set to be a key figure for Wales, according to Charlie Nicholas

Aaron Ramsey is set to be a key figure for Wales, according to Charlie Nicholas

Aaron Ramsey is set to be a key figure for Wales, according to Charlie Nicholas

Chris Coleman has done a very good job with Wales but Serbia, who are a bit unpredictable away, are a very tough, physical team at home and I can see them getting the win.

Charlie predicts: 2-0 and Dusan Tadic to score first




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