Ryan Giggs eyes up promotion with Wales in Nations League
Wales are in Group Four of League B in the Nations League, alongside the Republic of Ireland.
Wales manager Ryan Giggs has already set his sights on promotion to the top flight of UEFA’s new Nations League.
Following Wednesday’s draw in Lausanne, Wales were placed in Group Four of League B, alongside the Republic of Ireland and Denmark.
The UEFA competition is designed to allow teams to play against those who are similarly ranked – and will offer some who do not qualify for Euro 2020 via the normal route a path to the play-offs.
Wales found themselves among the second seeds for the inaugural Nations League, which will see both the opportunity for promotion as well as the possibility of relegation.
Giggs, who took over following the departure of Chris Coleman at the end of the unsuccessful bid to reach the 2018 World Cup, believes Wales should target being part of Europe’s top tier.
“There is so much riding on each game, so it won’t be hard to stimulate the players,” Giggs said in an interview on the Football Association of Wales’ Facebook page.
“You want to get into League A – to be playing against England, Spain, France – and of course you obviously don’t want to get relegated, but there is that carrot as well that you can qualify for the Euros.”
The Nations League fixtures will replace the majority of friendlies, which former Manchester United winger Giggs believes can only be a positive for the continued development of international football.
“That is the beauty of this competition. Sometimes in qualifiers, when there are teams of a lower level against a higher level, you more or less (already) know the results,” Giggs added.
“You can see that anyone can win the groups, and that is how the format was designed, to be coming up against teams of similar quality.”
Wales are set to head to China in March, before preparing to tackle opponents who ended their own hopes of further progress towards Russia this summer when beaten in Cardiff last October.
Giggs is looking forward to taking on Martin O’Neill’s side, with his former United team-mate Roy Keane also in the Republic of Ireland dugout.
“It is exciting because it is a new tournament and a new format, we have got a good draw,” he said.
“The Republic, obviously, we know very well and Denmark are a team who are doing well at the moment and going to the World Cup.”
Giggs added: “It was a disappointing night in Cardiff. The players will be motivated, obviously they want to put that right.
“But it is always tough when you are up against teams who you know the coaches, the players – do you cancel each other out?
“The atmosphere, though, in both games will be great, there is great support away in both countries. They are games I am looking forward to and the players will be as well.
“You are pitting your wits against two experienced men in Martin O’Neill, and in Roy, who is obviously someone I know well, who was a fantastic player and captain.”