Wales’ players celebrate after the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Georgia and Wales in Tbilisi on October 6, 2017. Vano SHLAMOV / AFP
Tom Lawrence scored his first international goal to earn Wales a vital 1-0 victory in Georgia on Friday and keep them in the hunt for a place at next year’s World Cup.
The Derby Counter midfielder rifled in the winner four minutes after half-time in Tbilisi as Chris Coleman’s side pulled to within a point of Group D leaders Serbia, who would qualify with a win in Austria later.
“It was a massive win. I was happy to get the goal. I thought we did well and we managed to get that win,” Lawrence, 23, told Sky Sports. “I don’t think you can describe the feeling. You dream of it.”
Wales are bidding to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958 and face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Monday in their final qualifying match.
“All we can do is work hard and take care of our business. We have a huge test on Monday night against the Republic of Ireland. We have a game plan and we will see where it takes us,” said Coleman.
Martin O’Neill’s third-placed Ireland trail Wales by four points ahead of their home encounter against lowly Moldova later on Friday.
Spain could effectively clinch their spot in Russia with a win at home to Albania. The 2010 world champions lead Italy, who host Macedonia in Turin, by three points in Group G but own a vastly superior goal difference.
Just two points separate the top four countries in Group I, with Croatia and Iceland leading the way on 16 points ahead of Turkey and Ukraine, who are both on 14.
Croatia host fifth-placed Finland, while Iceland, who made their major tournament debut at Euro 2016, visit Turkey as Ukraine travel to bottom side Kosovo.