Wales took a good look at the Federation Internationale de Football Association calculation process and decided against playing non-competitive friendly games, where even victories could damage your Federation Internationale de Football Association ranking - Romania another top seed for these World Cup qualifiers - did something similar, while teams like England, Italy and France's rankings have been damaged by playing friendly matches.
Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland, already assured of a second-place finish in Group C, secured their play-off berth courtesy of Scotland's agonising 2-2 Group Fdraw against Slovenia earlier in the evening.
The RepublicIreland have to beat Wales tonight if they are to have any chance of making it to the World Cup. Wales play Georgia on Friday 6th October, followed three days later by tonight's match against the Republic of Ireland.
In Bale's absence, Derby County forward Tom Lawrence scored a fine first worldwide goal to give Wales a 1-0 win away to Georgia on Friday.
Winger McClean beat Wales in this must-win game with a brilliantly worked team goal that keeps Ireland's hopes of being in Russian Federation next summer alive. In the run-up to the round, the Irish home lost to Serbia 0: 1, reducing the opportunity to qualify.
We could go top in the event of an unlikely Serbian defeat.
A draw means Ireland finish third.
No. Serbia are guaranteed a top-two position and therefore one of Wales and Ireland will miss out.
"They had a couple of long-distance shots, but I felt we were comfortable and we dealt with everything".
How can I watch Wales vs Ireland?
'What happened to Seamus was unfortunate but I don't think it will have a bearing on this game, ' said Coleman.
"The good thing about it is we've been here before, so we've got that experience".
After the ninth round of games, only three groups outside of our own remain of interest to us.