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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Gareth Bale can help inspire Wales to successful China trip

New boss Ryan Giggs set to get off to a winning start

Gareth Bale has had a frustrating season at Real Madrid
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International friendly
BBC1 Wales, 11.35am Thursday

While others are plotting their preparations for the summer extravaganza in Russia, Wales and China are on the outside without an invite to the World Cup finals.

They have the opportunity to battle it out with Uruguay and the Czech Republic to claim the China Cup this week, but both teams will be more concerned with the first steps of a rebuilding plan under managers with contrasting levels of experience.

Ryan Giggs, whose managerial career entails a brief period as Manchester United caretaker manager, has taken over the Welsh reins from Chris Coleman and while Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey has not made the trip east, the new boss will be delighted that he has Gareth Bale's services.

The Real Madrid star has been struggling for match time this season so does not head to China in brilliant form, but he shouldn't have to be at the top of his game against a team who are not an Asian footballing powerhouse.

Legendary Italian coach Marcello Lippi is in charge of China and has admitted his squad, who are drawn mainly from Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande and this season's leaders Shanghai SIPG, are way behind the other three teams in the tournament.

They won their last two games of their final Asian World Cup qualifying table, but they were already out of the running having claimed just two points from their opening five clashes.

Their preparations have now turned towards next year's Asian Cup in the UAE and they need to improve if they are to prove a force in that competition.

Back Wales to impress their new manager with a comfortable success by supporting them at minus one on the Asian handicap. Stakes will be returned if they win by just one goal.

Wales -1 on Asian handicap
1pt 5-4 188Bet

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Team news
Former Charlton and Celtic midfielder Zheng Zhi, who usually captains Marcello Lippi's side, has been rested for this tournament.

Full-back Neil Taylor and midfielders Joe Ledley and Aaron Ramsey are ruled out through injury. Ethan Ampadu and Tom Lawrence have also pulled out.

Key stat
Each of Wales' last ten matches have featured fewer than three goals.

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Their preparations have now turned towards next year's Asian Cup in the UAE and they have a way to go if they are to prove a force in that competition
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