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Thursday 9th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

WALES will play in the 2018 China Cup alongside the tournament hosts, Uruguay and the Czech Republic.

The line-up was announced at a Beijing press conference yesterday and the four-team competition will be held in the southern Chinese city of Nanning next March.

Wales will hope that Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be available for the tournament, which will be played from March 19-27.

The cup falls within Fifa’s scheduled international window, but some of the major European clubs might not be keen on their players making the 12,000-mile round trip to China at such a crucial stage of the season.

But Chris Coleman, speaking last week about the prospect of Wales playing in the tournament, felt being invited to the China Cup was a coup for the Euro 2016 semi-finalists.

“I think it’s very positive,” the Wales manager said.

“We would never have been asked to be involved in something like that three or four years ago, but now we’re being asked to go to a mini-tournament against some really good teams.”

Wales would be guaranteed two games in Nanning, which is known as the “Green City” of China because of its abundance of tropical foliage and is around 100 miles from the Vietnam border.

World Cup-bound Uruguay are expected to include Barcelona striker Luis Suarez and Paris St Germain forward Edinson Cavani.

Like Wales, the Czech Republic and China — who are managed by former World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi — missed out on qualifying for next summer’s finals in Russia.

Chile overcame Iceland to win the inaugural tournament in January 2017, while China beat Croatia in the third-place play-off.