Day of destiny for Wales' football and rugby teams on 10 October

Chris Coleman and Warren Gatland
Chris Coleman (left) was appointed Wales football manager in 2012, while Warren Gatland was named Wales rugby head coach in 2007

It is a date etched into millions of minds, a day which could prove to be one of the greatest in Welsh sporting history.

On Saturday, 10 October, Wales' football team travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina in search of the point which will see them qualify for Euro 2016 and end their 57-year absence from major tournaments.

Just hours earlier, the national rugby side will be at Twickenham for their World Cup Pool A decider against Australia.

Although Wales have already qualified for the quarter-finals, the Wallabies clash will determine who Warren Gatland's side face in the last eight and potentially later in the tournament.

What the teams need

For the footballers, the equation is simple. Draw or win against Bosnia - or Andorra three days later - and they qualify for Euro 2016.

Even if they were to lose both games - unthinkable as Andorra have claimed only one competitive away draw in their history - Chris Coleman's men would still progress if Israel fail to beat Cyprus or group favourites Belgium.

But they will want keep their destiny in their own hands and consign half a century of heartache to history on Saturday.

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale (centre) celebrates his goal in Wales' 1-0 win against Belgium in June 2015

While the footballers have the safety net of the Andorra fixture, the rugby players are already assured of their quarter-final berth.

They will, however, be eager to to beat Australia in order to top Pool A and avoid two-time champions South Africa in the last eight, as well as a likely semi-final meeting with holders New Zealand.

Win at Twickenham and Wales could instead be presented with a more appealing route to the final, with Scotland (or, less likely, Japan) in the quarter-finals and potentially Ireland in the last four.

What it would mean

Welsh football history has been defined by failure; sometimes abject, often agonisingly narrow.

There have been several near misses. Paul Bodin's penalty against Romania in 1993 hit the bar and saw Wales fall just short of the 1994 World Cup, while a play-off defeat at home to Russia a decade later cost them a place at Euro 2004.

It is those false dawns which would make qualifying for Euro 2016 all the sweeter, a momentous celebration for generations starved of success.

Wales' rugby team have not been immune to crushing lows, falling foul of shock defeats to Western Samoa and Fiji at the 1991 and 2007 World Cups and having captain Sam Warburton sent off in their 2011 semi-final loss to France.

Leigh Halfpenny
Wales and British and Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny (right) was ruled out of the World Cup with a knee injury

But under Gatland, Wales have largely prospered.

There have been two Grand Slams, a Six Nations title and that run to the last four of the 2011 World Cup, but a similar display at this year's tournament might be the crowning moment of the New Zealander's reign.

Wales started the competition without key players such as Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Webb and Jonathan Davies, and their injury crisis has worsened as the tournament has progressed, losing Cory Allen, Hallam Amos and Scott Williams.

If beating England with a patched-up team at Twickenham was a triumph in adversity, overcoming Australia and going beyond the quarter-finals would be an achievement spectacularly against the odds.

So is the champagne on ice?

Where the football team are concerned, very much so. Fans can start planning their trips to France.

It is essentially a matter of when - not if - Wales qualify and, although the Andorra match is the ultimate insurance, they have a strong chance of claiming the clinching point against a Bosnian side shorn of suspended Everton midfielder Muhamed Besic and potentially captain and top-scorer Edin Dzeko, who is recovering from a knee injury.

Wales Australia infographic

Although the rugby side are already through to the quarter-finals, Saturday will pose more potential pitfalls.

Australia were imperious in their 33-13 dismantling of England and they were victorious against New Zealand 27-19 on their way to winning this year's Rugby Championship.

Wales have lost their last 10 matches against the Wallabies but, with the last five of those defeats by a margin of five points or fewer, there is a sense that - like the football team's fortunes - the tide could be about to turn.

INTERACTIVE
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    High: Wales 22-21 Australia, 1987. Australia were the overwhelming favourites to win this third-place play-off, but Wales claimed a dramatic 22-21 win – thanks to Adrian Hadley’s late try and Paul Thorburn’s conversion – to seal their highest World Cup finish.

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    Low: Wales 13-16 Western Samoa, 1991. One of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, this result meant Wales, who finished third at the previous tournament, failed to make it out of the group. It prompted the famous quip: “Thank heavens Wales weren’t playing the whole of Samoa.”

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    High: Wales 2-0 Israel, 1958. Having won the first leg 2-0 in Tel Aviv, Wales cruised to another comfortable victory to seal their passage to the 1958 World Cup, which is still their only appearance at a major tournament.

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    Low: Wales 1-2 Romania, 1993. Drawing 1-1 at home to Romania and needing a win to qualify for the 1994 World Cup, Wales had a golden chance when they were awarded a penalty. But Paul Bodin blasted his spot-kick against the bar and Wales slipped to an agonising defeat.

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