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Preview: Wales vs. Macedonia

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Moment of the match between Macedonia and Wales played in Skopje, photo: Zlatko Topkoski / MFMoment of the match between Macedonia and Wales played in Skopje, photo: Zlatko Topkoski / MFWith two matches remaining until the end of yet another unsuccessful campaign, Macedonia visits Wales in the battle of avoiding last place in Group A.

With caretaker manager Zoran Stratev in charge, after Chedomir Janevski decided to leave the team for Belgian club Mons, Macedonia visits Wales in the 9th matchday of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifications, in Group A. This will be a battle for avoiding last place as Wales currently occupies that place with 6 points, just one point above Macedonia.

Stratev did make some changes in the squad. He has included Dejan Blazhevski from Horizont Turnovo and Ezgjan Alioski from Swiss side Schaffausen, who is debutant after getting promoted from the U21 team, but Goran Popov is still out of the squad as is Ferhan Hasani. Furthermore, Ivan Trichkovski had to be replaced because of an injury and Stratev then additionally called up defender Daniel Ivanovski.

Wales are also facing injury problems. Their star player Gareth Bale is definitely ruled out, but he is not the only worry for the manager. Wales boss Chris Coleman has additionally called up nine players to replace the injured players in his team. Coleman's future might rely on results in these last two matches as he is expecting a contract extension but an official from the Welsh FA was quoted as saying that 'much can depend on the outcome of Wales' next matches'.

In the first match played between these two teams, a month ago in Skopje, Macedonia got a hard fought 2:1 victory. Ivan Trichkovski and Aleksandar Trajkovski scored the goals for Macedonia, while Aaron Ramsey was Wales' lone goalscorer. For the upcoming match, bwin sport offers Macedonia to win at 3.25, but the home team are the favorites as they are priced at 2.20. A draw is offered for 3.20. Wales is currently 52nd on the FIFA ranking list, while Macedonia are 23 places lower.

The match will be played on the 11th of October, at 20:45 CET in the Cardiff City Stadium. Suren Baliyan from Armenia will be the referee of the game and he will be helped by fellow countrymen Mesrop Ghazaryan and Vanik Simonyan.


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