Wales vs Denmark preview: Hosts eye Nations League promotion
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Last Updated: 28/05/19 3:47pm
Wales manager Ryan Giggs says confidence is high ahead of his side's crucial UEFA Nations League Group B4 fixture against Denmark on Friday night, a game that could see the home team win promotion to the top tier of the competition at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Victory for either nation would see them join the elite in League A, while a draw would leave the visitors needing to beat the Republic of Ireland in their final game at home to take top spot.
"There's lots of incentives to top the group," Giggs said. "To actually win a competitive group would be great, and then you get a second bite of the cherry with regards to the (2020) Euros if you don't qualify automatically.
"It will have an effect on the seedings come the Euro draw as well. We started off wanting to win, it's a new tournament.
"We wanted to win the first one, our first Nations League, and it's in our hands. It's not going to be easy because we're up against a top-class side.
"They've got a top-class manager and a group of players who have proved over a period of time that they are tough to beat."
Meanwhile, Giggs said he had no concerns over midfielder Aaron Ramsey, whose Premier League game time at Arsenal has been limited in recent weeks.
"I think he's played enough and done OK," Giggs said. "He started last week in the Europa League, slightly deeper in a different role against Sporting (Lisbon), and I think he's had games.
"He got a bit of the game on Sunday and, just like Gareth, he's fine."
There was also good news for Giggs after captain Gareth Bale was declared fit for the Dane's visit.
The forward picked up an ankle injury in Real Madrid's 4-2 La Liga victory over Celta Vigo on Sunday.
The 29-year-old has followed a different routine this week to the one he is used to before a game, but Bale joined the rest of his team-mates at a training session in Cardiff on Thursday morning.
"He's good," Wales manager Ryan Giggs said of Bale at this pre-match press conference. "He arrived a little bit later than the rest of the group after playing on Sunday evening.
"But he's fine, he's looked good this week and he's ready. He had a little bit of a different programme earlier in the week, but the last couple of days he's been good."
Wales have lost defenders Chris Mepham and Neil Taylor, as well as striker George Thomas, from the original 26-man squad that Giggs had named.
However, Bale has been declared fit for the crunch clash in Cardiff.
Denmark captain and centre-back Simon Kjaer is out injured.
This will be the 10th different meeting between Wales and Denmark, with none of the last nine games ending in a draw (Wales winning four, Denmark winning five).
Wales have failed to score in four of their last six international encounters with Denmark, including their most recent meeting in the UEFA Nations League back in September.
Denmark have found the back of the net in seven of their nine matches against Wales, only failing to score in November 2008 and September 1987.
Wales have conceded seven goals in their last four internationals, as many as they had conceded in their previous 12.
Wales have lost just one of their last 12 competitive home games (W7 D4), winning their first competitive home game under Ryan Giggs in September against Republic of Ireland.
Since losing 3-0 versus Slovakia in September, Denmark are unbeaten in their last three games (W2 D1), keeping a clean sheet in each match.
Denmark's Christian Eriksen scored a brace in his last appearance against Wales in September, with the Danes winning 2-0.
Gareth Bale has been directly involved in six goals in his four appearances for Wales in 2018 (4 goals, 2 assists).
It's a tough one for Giggsy but he needs to win these types of games to get some serious belief into his team. A lot will depend on Gareth Bale's fitness as always for Wales but either way they're still a pretty strong side at home with the likes of Aaron Ramsey leading them.
Charlie predicts: 2-1 (10/1 with Sky Bet)