An emotional and surreal atmosphere is expected at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday night, as Wales look to beat Costa Rica at 4/6 to send a tribute to former manager Gary Speed, who tragically died in November 2011.
Costa Rica’s visit marks the first Wales game since Speed’s untimely death, and the travellers are 9/2 to spoil the celebration of one of the country’s favourite sons’ life, while the draw is 9/4.
Chris Coleman has succeeded Speed as Wales boss, but he will hand control instead to Osian Roberts for this game, who was a member of Speed’s backroom team, and will continue in his role under Coleman’s stewardship from now on.
It is a testament to the superb job that Speed did in charge of the national side that they are odds-on to triumph against the Costa Ricans, and they should seal an emphatic victory in memory of the legendary midfielder, so the 13/8 for Wales to be leading at half-time and full-time looks good.
The 11/4 on offer for Wales to win both halves is an equally appealing price, and punters may be inclined to invest in the 15/8 for Wales to win giving up a one-goal head start, while they are a huge 5/1 to overcome the same handicap by half-time.
Craig Bellamy counted Speed among one of his best friends as well as a respected authority figure as his manager, and the Liverpool forward will be desperate to offer his personal gratitude in the form of a goal.
He is 7/2 to hit the first of the game.
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has emerged as one of the hottest talents in world football over the past year or so, a time period which coincided with Speed’s tenure as Wales boss, and the Tottenham winger will also be fired up to break the deadlock at 5/1.