5 talking points ahead of Wales and Republic of Ireland’s Nations League clash

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Wales and the Republic of Ireland meet in their opening UEFA Nations League game on Thursday.

The two sides know each well after meeting in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Here, Press Association Sport considers some of the talking points surrounding the game in Cardiff.

Grudge game

Republic of Ireland v Wales – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – Group D – Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman was seriously injured playing against Wales in 2017 (Niall Carson/PA)

Life of Ryan

Wales Training – The Racecourse
Manager Ryan Giggs has to win over some Wales fans after regularly missing games during his playing career (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Unsettled Republic

Turkey v Republic of Ireland – International Friendly – Antalya Stadium
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has had a difficult build-up to the Wales game (Tim Goode/PA)

New era

It is a whole new ball game in international football with 55 European nations competing in the inaugural UEFA Nations League. The new tournament will see promotion and relegation as the aim is to replace meaningless friendlies with increased competition. Four leagues contains four groups with teams playing on a home and away basis. And it is serious stuff with the competition offering a route to the 2020 European Championships via play-offs in March of that year.

Denmark shadow

Denmark v Republic of Ireland – FIFA World Cup – Qualifying Play-off – First Leg – Parken Stadium
Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen will be among the players missing as Denmark prepare to field lower-league and futsal players against Wales in the UEFA Nations League (Tim Goode/PA)

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