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Wales manager Ryan Giggs hopes to start key duo Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey in Tuesday’s winner-takes-all Euro (qualifier against Hungary) 19: 45 GMT).
Bale played an hour in Saturday’s 2-0 win in Azerbaijan, Ramsey replacing him for the final 30 minutes.
With both lacking match fitness of late, Giggs is weighing up whether or not to start them together in Cardiff.
Midfielder Joe Allen is back from suspension and could replace Joe Morrell, who impressed in Baku.
If Ramsey starts, it would likely be in place of Harry Wilson , who scored Wales’ second goal against Azerbaijan.
Otherwise, changes are expected to be kept to a minimum as Wales aim to maintain the momentum they have built over the course of a five-match unbeaten run.
Wales go into the game in the knowledge they are guaranteed a play-off spot next March if they fail to qualify automatically.
“It will be tough picking the team,” said Giggs.
“You just take everything into account, players who’ve shown form and how they’ve recovered, minutes played, and also the subs are going to be important because of the short turnaround.
“All of these things you have to take into account, and the team you’re playing against, how you can hurt them.
“It won’t be easy because there are a lot of players who played well the other night and players who could come in and do a job.”
Hungary are without influential center-back Willi Orban because of injury, while defender Mihaly Korhut and midfielder Laszlo Kleinheisler are suspended.
Bale says this has been “an up and down campaign”, but Wales seem to be gathering momentum at just the right moment.
When they lost in Hungary in June, Giggs’ side were left with only three points from their first three matches.
But they are unbeaten since then and, on Tuesday, face Hungary again knowing victory will secure automatic qualification for Euro 2020.
The turnaround has been as impressive as the start was underwhelming.
And given how quickly Wales’ situation has changed, you could be forgiven for forgetting just how significant an occasion Tuesday’s match will be.
For the younger players in the squad, and the fans of a similar age, it is expected that Wales qualify for – or at least come close to qualifying for – major tournaments.
After all, they reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and only missed out on a play-off for the 2018 World Cup after losing their last qualifier.
Wales great who missed out
But still, Wales have only twice reached the finals of a major competition, the (World Cup and Euro) .
Their 58 – year absence denied some great players the opportunity to play in inte rnational football’s showpiece events – John Toshack, Ian Rush, Neville Southall and Mark Hughes to name just a few.
Giggs was another. Despite a long and distinguished, trophy-laden club career with Manchester United, he was one of Wales’ most famous players never to grace a major international tournament.
Now he has the opportunity to do so as manager – not that he wants the attention.
“It’s not about me. It’s about the country as a whole,” said Giggs.
“The team in 2016, everyone, whether you were involved or a fan or watching on TV, it was amazing.If we can recreate that atmosphere, it’s fantastic.
“It’s not about individuals. As a player, that’s over now. Now I’m a manager. I think we’ve put ourselves in a great position. We’ve still got one game to go and a tough game, so we’ll need to win that to qualify. “
Giggs is keeping a lid on his emotions before Tuesday’s pivotal fixture, which is equally important to Hungary, who would also qualify automatically if they win.
A draw, meanwhile, would open the door for Slovakia, who could snatch the second automatic qualifying spot behind Group E winners Croatia if they beat Azerbaijan.
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So the stakes could scarcely be higher. s’ players could join a very select group to have represented the country in a major tournament.
“We have to show the belief we’ve shown and the quality, and be brave , be brave on the ball, “Giggs said.
” We’ve got some good players, but we recognize we’re up against a team who are organized and tough to break down and also need to win as well. It’s going to be an exciting night and one all the players are looking forward to.
“We have got that momentum. I think we’ll have to be better than we were the other night if we are going to win.
“But I believe in the players – I believe in the group that we’ve got and the qualities they possess.”
(Head-to-head) ******************* (
- ) Wales have played Hungary 11 times, winning five, drawing two and losing four.
- Two of their meetings were at the 1958 World Cup, a 0-0 draw and a 2-1 win for Wales in a group play-off fixture.
- Wales are 24 th in the Fifa men’s world rankings, 26 places higher than Hungary in 50 th.
- Sweden’s 2-0 win over Romania in Bucharest on Fridayensured Waleshave a play-off place to fall back on.
- Ryan Giggs’ side are unbeaten in five matches since losing to Hungary in June.
- Hungary have qualified for three European Championships, finishing third in 1964, fourth in 1972 and reaching the last 16 in 2016.
- Hungary started this campaign as the fourth seeds in Group E but will qualify automatically for Euro 2020 if they beat Wales.
- Marco Rossi’s side have lost four of their past five matches in all competitions.
MOST RECENT MEETING
Hungary 1-0 Wales( (June) ) Mate Patkai’s late winner took Hungary to the top of Group E and severely damaged Wales’ automatic qualification hopes, leaving them with three points from their first three games.