Ireland's Robbie Brady in danger of missing World Cup play-off as Fifa confirm investigation into alleged headbutt

Ross McLean
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Wales v Republic of Ireland - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Robbie Brady played his part as Ireland secured their place in the World Cup play-offs (Source: Getty)

Republic of Ireland midfielder Robbie Brady is in danger of missing his side’s World Cup play-off after governing body Fifa confirmed an investigation is underway into an alleged headbutt on Wales defender Ashley Williams.

The incident in question took place in the 61st minute of Ireland’s crunch 1-0 qualifying victory over Wales in Cardiff on Tuesday evening, but was missed by referee Damir Skomina.

Fifa have confirmed they are collating evidence to determine whether Brady should be charged. If he is, the 25-year-old could miss at least the first leg of next month’s play-offs, the draw for which takes place on 17 October.

Brady had only just returned from a suspension at Cardiff City Stadium having missed Ireland’s crucial 2-0 win over Moldova in Dublin on Friday evening after accruing his second caution of qualifying during his side’s loss to Serbia last month.

He was one of six Ireland players booked during the clash with Wales alongside goalkeeper Darren Randolph, defender Ciaran Clark, midfielder David Meyler, striker Daryl Murphy and goalscorer James McClean.

The loss of Brady would be a major blow to Martin O’Neill’s side, who are already without stand-in skipper Meyler for the first leg of the play-offs following his caution in Cardiff.

Needing victory to progress to the play-offs, Ireland were resolute in defence and executed their game-plan to perfection, earning maximum points courtesy of McClean’s superb right-footed finish shortly before the hour mark.

Should Ireland navigate the play-offs and reach the tournament it will be the fourth time in their history they have qualified for a World Cup. Wales, meanwhile, have not qualified for a World Cup finals since 1958.

The future of Wales boss Chris Coleman, whose contract expires next summer, has been in sharp focus since their defeat and a number of senior players are believed to have met the 47-year-old in a bid to convince him to remain in charge.

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