Wales v Spain, Thursday 11th October, 19:45
This will be a good test for Wales as aside from facing Uruguay in Ryan Giggs’ first couple of games in charge, as well as a friendly with France back in November under Chris Coleman, they haven’t faced a team inside the top-10 since their Euro 2016 exploits.
Gareth Bale was missing in that friendly in Paris, but was kept quiet against Uruguay and is highly unlikely to feature here anyway after suffering a couple of niggles recently.
The Dragons kicked off their UEFA Nations League campaign with an outstanding 4-1 win over Ireland but having lost 2-0 in Denmark they won’t want to risk the Real Madrid superstar with another crucial showdown against Martin O’Neill’s men looming.
Although Giggs is unlikely to make any wholesale changes as he tries to ascertain which players can compete against the top sides, Luis Enrique will want to use the opportunity to experiment with more of his squad.
Indeed, he’ll be more focused on securing all three points when England visit Seville four days later, which would practically wrap up first place in Group A4 at the half-way stage.
He’s made a hugely successful start with plenty of goals as England were beaten 2-1 at Wembley before hammering World Cup finalists Croatia 6-0 on home turf, and whatever team he selects the vast array of talent should ensure victory regardless.
La Roja are more direct than previously under Enrique, much like Barcelona became more direct under his tutelage, though those passing triangles have hardly gone out the window either as this is evolution rather than revolution.
It has however helped them create a greater number of clear cut chances with quicker transitions from back to front, whereas they could struggle in the past sometimes when presented with an impenetrable wall as their opponents packed 10 men behind the ball.
When assessing the hosts’ potential to get on the scoreboard it’s just impossible to ignore the influence of talisman Bale. He’s either scored or assisted over half their goals in games where he’s featured since the Euros.
He’s missed six matches for the national side since then, with Wales netting three goals in his absence. However, these came against Serbia, Georgia and Panama, all of whom are outside the top-30 ranked teams according to FIFA’s rankings, while top-30 sides France, Ireland and Mexico kept the Dragons’ attack quiet.
*all odds are subject to change