Wales entertain Finland in a Euro 2024 play-off semi-final on Thursday.

The winners will progress to a home final against Estonia or Poland five days later for a place at Euro 2024 this summer.

Here, the PA news agency studies some of the main talking points surrounding the Cardiff City Stadium clash.

Here we go again

Wales v Ukraine – FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier – Play Off – Final – Cardiff City Stadium

Wales have fond play-off memories after reaching the 2022 World Cup through football’s version of the last-chance saloon. Austria and Ukraine were both beaten in Cardiff as Wales made the most of home advantage – and the Dragons have again been dealt a kind hand to qualify for Euro 2024. On those occasions, however, Gareth Bale was the difference and Wales can no longer call on their retired superstar. It is time for the post-Bale generation to stand up, with Wales on the brink of a third successive European Championship and a fourth major tournament in five.

Ramsey risk?


Skipper Aaron Ramsey was named in the Wales squad despite not having started a game for six months. The Cardiff midfielder managed 25 minutes in his latest comeback from injury on Saturday and, even at 33, a fully-fit Ramsey would be a huge asset for Wales. Ramsey trained alone on Monday, following his own fitness programme, and starting against Finland would surely represent a huge risk, especially as Ethan Ampadu and Jordan James have become an effective midfielder partnership in front of a three-man defence.

Forward firepower

There may be no Bale any more, but Wales are not short of firepower up front. Brennan Johnson, David Brooks, Daniel James, Harry Wilson, Kieffer Moore and Nathan Broadhead are all firing for their clubs and boss Rob Page must form a three-man forward line from six. Moore, with his line-leading skills, aerial ability and decent international scoring record, seems certain to start. Whoever gets the nod on the flanks, Page, who says he has decided on his selection, knows he has players capable of making an impact off the bench.

Jeepers Keepers

Wales v Croatia – UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying – Group D – Cardiff City Stadium

Wales are in the midst of a goalkeeping mess, with none of their four senior stoppers – Danny Ward, Wayne Hennessey, Adam Davies and Tom King – having played a single minute of league football this season. Number one Ward has not played for Leicester in 12 months and Page is pinning his faith on the 30-year-old being match sharp from a handful of outings for the Foxes’ under-23s. Finland have no such issues as their goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky has impressed for Xabi Alonso’s Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Firing Finn

Republic of Ireland v Finland – UEFA Nations League – Group 4 – League B – Aviva Stadium

Record scorer Teemu Pukki remains Finland’s main marksman at the age of 33. The former Norwich striker now plays in Major League Soccer at Minnesota United. Other notable players include Hradecky, Leeds midfielder Glen Kamara and Middlesbrough striker Marcus Forss. Finland, like Wales, finished third in their Euro 2024 qualifying group behind Denmark and Slovenia. They completed a double over Northern Ireland but were beaten at home by Kazakhstan. Finland’s FIFA world ranking of 60 is 31 places below Wales’ 29.