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Tom Lawrence stunner earns Wales vital World Cup qualifying win in Georgia

Jaba Kankava of Georgia slides in to tackle Tom Lawrence of Wales in action during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Georgia and Wales at Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi,...

It is not quite a case of all roads point to Russia for Wales, but the path to next summer’s World Cup finals has certainly become a little clearer. A third successive qualification victory, courtesy of Tom Lawrence’s first goal for his country, means that another win against the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff on Monday will all but guarantee a place in the World Cup play-offs.

Wales’s World Cup hopes dented by Georgia’s Tornike Okriashvili in draw

Wales' Gareth Bale reacts

This was the day when the path to the World Cup finals in Russia started to become more complicated for Wales. Chris Coleman and his players need no telling there is little margin for error in this qualification campaign, especially when their opponents are ranked 137th in the world. Georgia, in fairness, are much better than their record suggests, yet there was no escaping the sense of disappointment at the final whistle among the Wales supporters.

Republic of Ireland win ugly but Robbie Brady injury mars result against Georgia

Republic of Ireland's Robbie Brady goes down after sustaining an injury

This was never going to be one for the purists and there were times, especially in the first half, when the Republic of Ireland seemed incapable of stringing more than two passes together. However, Séamus Coleman’s first international goal, on his 40th appearance, was sufficient to earn Martin O’Neill’s team their opening win of the qualifying campaign against a battling Georgia.

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Jaba Kankava of Georgia slides in to tackle Tom Lawrence of Wales in action during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Georgia and Wales at Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi,...

Tom Lawrence stunner earns Wales vital World Cup qualifying win in Georgia

It is not quite a case of all roads point to Russia for Wales, but the path to next summer’s World Cup finals has certainly become a little clearer. A third successive qualification victory, courtesy of Tom Lawrence’s first goal for his country, means that another win against the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff on Monday will all but guarantee a place in the World Cup play-offs.

Wales' Gareth Bale reacts

Wales’s World Cup hopes dented by Georgia’s Tornike Okriashvili in draw

This was the day when the path to the World Cup finals in Russia started to become more complicated for Wales. Chris Coleman and his players need no telling there is little margin for error in this qualification campaign, especially when their opponents are ranked 137th in the world. Georgia, in fairness, are much better than their record suggests, yet there was no escaping the sense of disappointment at the final whistle among the Wales supporters.

Republic of Ireland's Robbie Brady goes down after sustaining an injury

Republic of Ireland win ugly but Robbie Brady injury mars result against Georgia

This was never going to be one for the purists and there were times, especially in the first half, when the Republic of Ireland seemed incapable of stringing more than two passes together. However, Séamus Coleman’s first international goal, on his 40th appearance, was sufficient to earn Martin O’Neill’s team their opening win of the qualifying campaign against a battling Georgia.