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Summary

  1. Strachan blames Scotland's size on Slovenia draw
  2. Get involved: Your favourite sporting excuses
  3. Northern Ireland reach play-offs despite Norway defeat
  4. England heading to Russia after finishing qualifying unbeaten
  5. Later: Wales v Republic of Ireland (19:45 BST)

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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I've got some bad news... it is time for Sportsday to disappear. I know, I know, sad times.

But the good news is... live coverage of the big game in Cardiff will be starting before you know it. Tune in from 18:00 BST on the BBC Sport website or app, while our colleagues on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru will also be there.

And Sportsday will be back tomorrow for all of the reaction, plus updates from Syria's important qualifying game against Australia.

Cheerio!

'Go and make history'

Football

Chris Coleman
PA

Wales manager Chris Coleman wants his "golden generation" to forget the past and make more history when they face the Republic of Ireland in their final World Cup qualifier on Monday.

Coleman guided Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 - their first major tournament for 58 years.

And a win on Monday could take them to their first World Cup since 1958.

"There is nothing for the players to fear," said Coleman. "I think both teams are going to go for it."

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Jon Preston‏: Seems to imply Gordon Strachan the player wouldn't have been picked very often by Gordon Strachan the manager.

Douglas Shand: Dalglish 5 8”, Jimmy Johnstone 5 2”, Gemmill 5 5”, Denis Law 5 9”, Dave Mackay 5 8, Bremner 5 5”and ironically Strachan 5 6”.

Jack Roberts‏: Interesting point by Strachan. I wonder what Scottish Footballs youth set up is like and grassroots level is like?

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We've been talking all morning about those Gordon Strachan quotes. The Scotland manager reckons his nation are "genetically behind" after they failed to beat Slovenia and reach the World Cup play-offs.

Here are few more of your thoughts...

Let's switch back from the Rugby League World Cup to the football World Cup...

Follow the World Cup with the BBC

Rugby League

And don't forget you can stay across the whole of the Rugby League World Cup right here on the BBC.

Full details here.

England's World Cup schedule

Rugby League

England have the honour of opening the tournament when they meet co-hosts - and defending champions - Australia. Here's the full schedule:

Friday, October 20: Pre-tournament – England v Affiliated States (Perth)

Friday, October 27: Opening game of RLWC – England v Australia (Melbourne)

Saturday, November 4: England v Lebanon (Sydney)

Sunday, November 12: England v France (Perth)

'Selecting the squad was tough'

Rugby League

England coach Wayne Bennett on his 24-man squad for the upcoming World Cup:

"Selecting the final 24 with the help of my coaching staff was tough and that was down to the effort and performances of many players throughout the season.

"The competitiveness of Super League and NRL and knowing the goal of playing for your country in a World Cup has made many raise their game and become better athletes.

"We had to put the disappointment of the Four Nations behind us quickly and the meetings that followed that tournament set out what was required to be successful in the World Cup. Everyone has fully bought into this and we can’t wait to get started."

Roby back in the fold

Rugby League

St Helens hooker James Roby, 31, also returns to the squad for the first time since 2015. It will be the 31-year-old’s third World Cup after representing England in 2008 and 2013.

Wigan loose forward Sean O'Loughlin skippers the side in the tournament which begins on 27 October.

Hardaker out, Lomax in

Rugby League

Of course we know there is no Zak Hardaker. In case you missed it, the Castleford full-back has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for cocaine.

St Helens full-back Jonny Lomax is named in the squad despite struggling with injury recently.

England name World Cup squad

Rugby League

Drum roll please...

England have announced their 24-man World Cup squad...

And there is no place for Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins...

View more on twitter

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Boca Chop: People complaining about Scotland, unbeaten in last 7 inlcuding 6 qualifiers, an amazing record and fans should be proud.

Who needs what to qualify for Russia 2018?

England are there. Northern Ireland are two games away. Wales and the Republic of Ireland are, well, we don't know yet.

Holders Germany have already qualified, as have Spain and Brazil - the usual suspects. However, not all of the tradition heavyweights are finding it easy.

Three-time runners up the Netherlands are all but out and Argentina - even with Lionel Messi - are also in trouble. Meanwhile, Syria are in a play-off to keep their unlikely World Cup dream alive.

Find out who has qualified - and who still has work to do - in our comprehensive round-up.

Jennings unveiled by Lancashire

Cricket

It's official! England batsman Keaton Jennings has arrived at Old Trafford to be officially unveiled as a Lancashire player.

The opener agreed a four-year deal with the Red Rose county last month.

View more on twitter

Edmund through in Shanghai

Tennis

Kyle Edmund
Getty Images

Job done for Kyle Edmund. The British number three is through to the second round of the Shanghai Open after breezing past Jiri Vesely.

Edmund won 6-3 6-2 in little over an hour against the Czech leftie who is ranked 62nd, nine places below the Yorkshireman.

Long out for the Republic

Wales v Republic of Ireland (19:45 BST)

Shane Long
PA

Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long has been ruled out of Monday night's World Cup qualifier against Wales because of injury.

The 30-year-old Southampton front man played more than 80 minutes of Friday's 2-0 home win over Moldova.

But on the morning of the final Group D match in Cardiff the Republic announced Long's withdrawal.

Nottingham Forest striker Daryl Murphy looks set to start again after scoring both goals against Moldova

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Gavin Aitken‏: Scotland should be producing tall, athletic, technically sound players to suit style. Smaller players only if special talent.

Colin Mathie‏: He's talking complete something, not sure guff is the word i'd use

Edmund on the verge of victory

Tennis

Kyle Edmund is aiming to finish the year as a top 50 player and the 22-year-old Brit appears to be helping his case at the Shanghai Open.

The Yorkshireman, currently ranked 53rd, is steaming towards a straight-set victory against Czech leftie Jiri Vesely.

Edmund is a set and a break up.

Garcia out of Tianjin Open

Tennis

Caroline Garcia
Getty Images

World number nine Caroline Garcia has withdrawn from this week's Tianjin Open because of injury.

The 23-year-old from France beat new world number one Simona Halep to win the China Open on Sunday.

That took her ahead of Briton Johanna Konta in the Race to Singapore - the top eight players in which compete at the season-ending WTA Finals.

Konta will also sit out the event in Tianjin, so will need to reach the final of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

England set to name World Cup squad

Rugby League

So we know Zak Hardaker won't be named in England's Rugby League World Cup squad. But who else will be on the plane to the Southern Hemisphere? We're going to be finding out in the next hour.

Wayne Bennett's squad will be revealed at 12:00 BST. We will be bringing you live updates when it arrives...

Hardaker sorry for 'enormous error'

Rugby League

Castleford Tigers full-back Zak Hardaker has issued this statement after being provisonally suspended:

"I would like to apologise to my team-mates, the staff and all fans for my enormous error of judgment.

"I was given an opportunity by this great club and in what has been one of the most important weeks in its history, I have let everyone at the club down. For that, I truly apologise.

"Finally, I would like to make it clear that in no way did I, nor would I, ever take a substance with the intention of enhancing my performance."

Zak Hardaker
PA

Hardaker out of England's World Cup squad

Rugby League

Zak Hardaker
Rex Features

Castleford Tigers full-back Zak Hardaker has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for cocaine and will not be included in England's squad for the World Cup.

The 25-year-old was omitted from the Tigers' squad for the Grand Final loss to Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.

He could be suspended for two years as a result of his positive test.

Let's just look away from football for a moment. Because there has been a huge story breaking in the rugby league world today...

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Bernadette: Strachan is talking guff, we had the players capable of qualifying, our problem was that he didn't pick them. #stubborn

Pressure on bigger nations - Evans

Northern Ireland clinch play-off place

'It is an amazing achievement' - NI's Jonny Evans

Northern Ireland's achievement in reaching the World Cup play-offs has not sunk in yet for defender Jonny Evans, who believes the pressure will be on the "bigger nations" involved in the two-legged matches to reach Russia 2018.

Northern Ireland clinch play-off place

Michael O'Neill
PA

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill says knowing they had sealed a spot in the World Cup play-offs before kick-off "maybe took the edge off" their performance in the 1-0 loss to Norway.

The defeat means they may not be seeded in the play-offs draw on 17 October.

"We got confirmation before the game and it maybe took the tension out of the situation," said O'Neill.

"When we look at the campaign as a whole though it's been a very successful one."

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Stewart‏: Strachan has to go. Last night's excuse was laughable! We're out because he's too stubborn. Its time for someone positive.

We're asking you if Gordon Strachan has got a point when he says Scotland are "genetically behind"? Or is he talking complete guff?

And while we're at it, where does this rank among the great sporting excuses?

Get involved using #bbcsportsday.

The back pages

The Times

England have reached the World Cup without losing in their qualifying campaign, but boss Gareth Southgate still had to defend his side's display in the narrow win against Lithuania.

The Times is leading their back page with Southgate asking for patience from supporters ahead of the finals in Russia next summer.

The Times
The Times

The back pages

The Daily Express

Harry Kane wore the captain's armband for England in Lithuania last night. But will that be enough to earn it on a full-time basis?

Daily Express
Daily Express

The back pages

The Sun

Meanwhile, south of the border... the English press are mainly focusing on Harry Kane's exploits...

Harry Kane
Getty Images

The back pages

Daily Record

The back page of the Daily Record sums up the feelings of a nation...

Daily Record
Daily Record

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Yorkshire Knight: "We were the second smallest behind Spain". I don't recall this preventing Spain being the best team in Europe over the last 10 years.

Big Al: Gutted at the result, but almost exactly what I predicted beforehand. In isolation a 2-2 draw in Slovenia would actually be a good result and the performance was OK. The damage wasn't done last night, it was done months ago.

What the team doesn't need is a new manager to start all over again, take months to find his team and formation by which time we've blown the next campaign.

Scott: Set up for failure from the start. Mentally never ready to challenge.

Wales v Republic of Ireland (19:45 BST)

Wales v Ireland
Huw Evans Picture Agency

It is winner takes it all in Cardiff later. Wales host the Republic of Ireland with the victor guaranteeing second spot in Group D at least.

A draw is also enough for Wales to end up in that position, while both teams have a chance to secure an automatic World Cup place should group leaders Serbia slip up at home to Georgia.

As well as dissecting Strachan's excuses, there is plenty more for you non-Scotland fans to enjoy today. And for you Scotland fans who want to forget about last night...

Northern Ireland booked their place in the play-offs as they look to reach a first World Cup finals since 1986, while England finished their qualifying campaign unbeaten.

We'll also be analysing those countries' campaign as well as looking forward to the big match tonight...

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This one has to be settled by you: the BBC Sport jury. Has Strach got a point? Or is he talking complete guff?

And while we're at it, where does this rank among the great sporting excuses?

Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish came out with some pearlers in the 90s - sure you can remember them...

Get involved on #bbcsportsday.

Gordon Strachan
PA

Here at BBC Sport, we (sort of) understand what Strachan is getting at. Although he doesn't help his argument with this line:

"Genetically, we are behind," he says. "In the last campaign we were the second smallest, apart from Spain."

Hmmm, Spain. They've not really struggled in recent years have they?

Wee Scotland come up short

Scotland
Getty Images

And wee Gord reckons Scotland come up short - literally.

Strach says his team were "genetically behind" after they missed out on a World Cup play-off place with a 2-2 draw in Slovenia.

"We had to pick a team to combat their height and strength," said Strachan, who would not be drawn on his future.

"It's a problem for us because we have to work harder for every ball."

...that's because it is. Sorry Scotland fans.

The Tartan Army have not enjoyed a jolly to a World Cup finals since 1998, a time when Britain was still being swept along with New Labour optimism, soundtracked by the Gallagher brothers and wearing baggy jeans.

Twenty years of hurt were almost ended last night by Gordon Strachan's side. Unfortunately they came up short...

Scotland players consoled by Gordon Strachan
PA

Kilt-wearing players on the Stade de France pitch...

Scotland
Getty Images

Some fans kicking a ball about under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower...

Scotland
Getty Images

While others sleep off the night before in Parisian doorways...

Scotland
Getty Images

It feels like a long time since Scotland last reached a World Cup finals...