Bosnia & H vs Wales – Match preview and team news

Only a point away to Bosnia & Herzegovina will be enough for Wales to ensure their place at a first ever European Championship in what promises to be a monumental evening in Sarajevo.

This is their second chance to book a ticket to France, having been held by Israel last month when a win was required. That was a very frustrating afternoon which emphasised their status as one of the most progressive nations in world football, with Israel paying them the respect of sitting back throughout and restricting them to very few chances.

Chris Coleman deserves immense credit for guiding his country to the brink of what looked little more than a pipedream just a little over a year ago, but Wales are now occupying the lofty heights of sixth in the FIFA world rankings and have a team spirit of the kind that is rarely seen at club level.

Even if Wales lose here and fail to get the job done, they have what looks a sure-fire insurance policy of a home fixture with minnows Andorra coming up on Tuesday. This has the makings of a tight clash, so may just be decided by a moment of quality from talisman Gareth Bale, who is among the leading scorers in Euro 2016 qualifying, aided by the support of the hardworking Hal Robson-Kanu.

The reverse match between these two sides a year ago was an entertaining clash and an intriguing physical match-up which ended goalless. As they were back then, Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko will carry the most threat to the Welsh defence. They have helped Roma to fourth in Serie A, but will be disappointed by their efforts to help their national side reach a second successive major tournament.

Bosnia, who performed well at the World Cup despite going out at the group stage, have suffered something of a hangover and really need two big performances if they are to catch Israel for third place and a play-off spot. The gap currently stands at two points, which means maximum points from this and their game on Monday is the only thing that will give them any realistic hope.

There has been some anxiety over Bale’s fitness, but he has shaken off a calf problem and will be fit. For Bosnia, they will have to make do without the presence of combative midfielder Muhamed Besic, who is suspended.

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