Wales v Finland: Bale can guide hosts to promotion

Gareth Bale can help Wales hold off Finland and lead the hosts to top spot in their Nations League group on Wednesday night, says Dave Tindall...

Wales v Finland
Wednesday, 19:45
Live on S4C Online

Wales on the brink

Wales just need to draw with Finland in their final Nations League group game on Wednesday night to ensure promotion into League A.

The good news? Well, there's a fair bit of it. They're at home. Gareth Bale is fit again. And they're unbeaten in 10 competitive matches.

The concern? Finland are the most dangerous rivals they could face in Group B4.

Basically, this group is one of the most lopsided you'll see.

Wales lead the way on 13 points after four wins and a draw while the Finns have 12 points.

By contrast, the Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria haven't managed a single win between them. The former have two points and the latter just one.

There's also one other very standout stat when looking at the Group B4 table: Wales haven't conceded a single goal!

Finns have clear objective

When Finland lost their group opener to Wales on September 3, it looked a setback although there were still plenty of games to play.

And, indeed, the Finns have recovered impressively with a run of four straight wins.

The bad news is that Wales have managed 10 points out of 12 in that same period, meaning the significance of that first meeting in Helsinki has been magnified.

Rather like Wales, Finland have done enough in games.

They've scored a pair of 1-0 wins over the Republic of Ireland and beaten Bulgaria 2-0 and 2-1.

That 2-1 came in Sofia on Sunday, with Robin Lod - based in the MLS with Minnesota United - and Norwich's Teemu Pukki scoring before the break.

Finland conceded a second-half penalty - the first goal they've had scored against them since the Wales loss - but held on.

It means they have a straightforward task. To top the group and win promotion, nothing less than victory will do.

Wales odds-on for victory

Wales have been without manager Ryan Giggs for this recent flurry of games.

But it's been very much business as usual under interim manager Robert Page.

In short, Wales have carried on being Wales, their matches producing very few goals.

And so the 0-0 friendly draw with the USA and 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland have very much been to type.

For Wednesday's clash, Wales are 1.99 to seal promotion with victory while it's 3.4 they achieve it via a Draw.

Finland are 4.5 to get the win they have to achieve.

Looking back to the first match, Wales (without Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen) nicked victory via a late goal from Kieffer Moore.

Historically, this has been a good match-up for Finland however. They've won two and drawn three of their last five matches away to Wales.

Unders looks likely

As stated, Wales games have very few goals and six of the last seven have produced just one. That comprises four 1-0 wins for the Welsh and a pair of 0-0 draws.

Using the filter of just home games and eight of the last nine have had fewer than three goals.

No surprises then that Under 2.5 goals is incredibly short at only 1.56Under 1.5 is a point longer at 2.56.

Finland's results only take us the same way although, if making the case for Overs, you'd point to the fact that the visitors have to win. That could make it a little more open although, tactically, Finland will surely try and nick it rather than go wild and hope for a 3-2.

Same Game Multi market throws up Bale bet

With plenty of predictability in Wales' results, there are some good opportunities in the Same Game Multi Market.

Firstly, I don't think Wales lose the game but a nervy draw is certainly a possibility.

Let's now add in the fact that Gareth Bale has been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 13 home games for Wales, scoring nine and assisting four.

That could lead to the talisman scoring one himself or perhaps providing a cross for Kieffer Moore.

That leads me to four combinations and I'll have half a point on each - Moore to score first in a 1-0 win at 19.03, Bale 1-0 at 15.11, Moore anytime in a 1-1 draw at 20.14 and Bale anytime in a 1-1 draw at 16.42.

Just to note, pro-Finland backers may be interested in a version of this involving Teemu Pukki. The Norwich striker has three goals in his last six Finland away games.

Pukki to score first in a 1-0 Finland win is 25.57.

Opta Stat

Wales remain unbeaten in their last 10 competitive games (W7 D3) since a 1-0 defeat to Hungary in EURO 2020 qualifying back in June 2019 - the Dragons' joint-longest run without defeat in competitive fixtures (alongside a run of 10 between October 2013 - September 2015).

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