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Preview & team news: Wales v Georgia

Joe Allen (left) and Aaron Ramsey

Joe Allen (left) and Aaron Ramsey were both named in Uefa’s Euro 2016 team of the tournament

BBC coverage

How to follow:Listen on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio 5 live and online; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

TEAM NEWS

Wales will be without midfielders Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Georgia.

Allen injured his hamstring during Thursday’s draw in Austria, while Ramsey has been out since the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

David Edwards and Emyr Huws are the leading contenders to replace Allen.

“We’re without Aaron and Joe, but no problem, we’re good enough to go and perform,” said Wales manager Chris Coleman.

“I know it’s a full house, big expectations. As long as we get what we need – we may have to get that in a slightly different way.

“That’s not to say the players we’ve got are not capable; they’re well capable, good players and they never let us down. So it’s a big task, a big challenge against Georgia.”

MATCH PREVIEW

As joint leaders of their World Cup qualifying group and European Championship semi-finalists, Wales might be expected to breeze past Georgia.

However, history suggests the hosts should be wary of opponents ranked 137th in the world – 127 places lower than Coleman’s men.

Wales have lost all three of their matches against Georgia, with two of those coming at home in a 2008 friendly and a Euro 96 qualifier in 1995.

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Ashley Williams looks on as Georgia celebrate their late winner against Wales in 2008

But their most damaging defeat was their first, a 5-0 thrashing in Tbilisi in 1994.

Coleman was in the Wales team on that occasion and his memories are still vivid.

“They were dark days. The away game was my lowest moment in a Wales shirt,” he said.

“But that is not a problem for this generation of players. Under-estimating the opposition was more a problem of my generation.

“I tell my players what I think my group did wrong and what we missed out and what they can do to be better than us.”

This current Georgian side are also capable of causing an upset, as demonstrated by their friendly victory away against former world champions Spain earlier this year.

Wales, however, showed with their 4-0 win over Moldova in their first match of this campaign that they are capable of ruthlessly dismantling weaker opposition.

“We are lucky with this bunch of players, the attitude is first class,” Coleman added.

“We have not had sunshine and rainbows, we lost a semi-final in the summer and it does not come any tougher than that. The attitude after that was first class and has to continue.”

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Georgia have won all three of their previous matches against Wales.
  • Current manager Chris Coleman was in the Wales team when they lost 5-0 to Georgia in 1994.
  • Georgia have scored eight goals in three games against Wales, who have struck only once in those encounters.

Wales

  • Wales have won six of their last 10 competitive matches, losing three and drawing one.
  • Gareth Bale has scored 24 goals for Wales, four behind Ian Rush’s record mark.
  • Wales’ 2-2 draw in Austria was the first time they avoided defeat in their current grey away kit.

Georgia

  • Georgia have won three of their last 10 competitive matches, with two of them coming against Gibraltar and the other against Scotland.
  • Their all-time leading scorer is former Rangers striker Shota Arveladze, who struck 26 goals for his country.
  • Tornike Okriashvili is the top scorer in Georgia’s current squad with seven international goals.

MOST RECENT MEETING

Wales 1-2 Georgia (20 August, 2008)

Beka Gotsiridze scored a 90th-minute winner after Jason Koumas had given Wales the lead in a friendly at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37532639