With two wins, a draw and a loss from their opening four qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, Rob Page’s Wales side travel to Prague knowing a win over their hosts will leave them in pole position for a Group E playoff berth (Czech Republic 3/4, draw 12/5, Wales 4/1 – Match Betting).
A 0-0 home draw with Estonia a month ago took the gloss off an assured start on the Dragons’ road to Qatar, but three points against the Czech Republic on Friday night – to add to those won against the same opponents via a 1-0 victory at the Cardiff City Stadium back in March – would see Wales retake second spot from Jaroslav Silhavy’s men.
Gareth Bale misses the appointment in Prague – and Monday’s subsequent trip to Estonia – with a hamstring injury, but Aaron Ramsey (5/1 To Score Anytime) is set to captain the side on his return to the international fray.
“It means everything to me to play for Wales,” said the Juventus midfielder (pictured), whose fitness problems kept him out of contention during the September international break.
His last full 90-minute stand for either club or country came in Wales’ defeat to Denmark at this summer’s Euro 2020 last-16 phase.
“I am happy to be back involved,” Ramsey added. “I am looking forward to these two games – and to lead the boys out will be that extra bit special.”
Bournemouth’s David Brooks and Ben Davies of Tottenham have both been forced to withdraw from Page’s squad through illness, with the latter’s fellow left-back Rhys Norrington-Davies, of Sheffield United, also pulling out because of injury, along with Luton centre-half Tom Lockyer.
Swansea’s Ben Cabango has been summoned as a replacement, with Cardiff’s Will Vaulks also added to the side, receiving a first call-up since last October.