READING FC’s Chris Gunter and Paul McShane suffered World Cup heartbreak as they both failed to qualify for Russia 2018.

Skipper McShane’s Republic of Ireland crashed out of the qualifying play-offs with a 5-1 thumping by Denmark in Dublin on Tuesday night, having drawn the first leg 0-0.

Gunter’s Wales finished third in Group D, having lost a crucial match against the Republic of Ireland during the group stages.

But the 28-year-old reached a personal milestone on Tuesday night when he captained Wales to a 1-1 friendly draw against Panama in Cardiff to equal Gary Speed’s tally of 85 international caps.

Gunter, who was making his 64th consecutive appearance for his country, now sits just seven appearances behind goalkeeper Neville Southall, a gap the Newport-born defender is almost certain to surpass in the near future to become Wales’ most capped player.

Royals’ vice-captain Gunter said: “It means the world to captain my country and to be level with someone of Gary’s stature is a huge honour.

“To get to that number, it is quite special to equal his record.

“It is always nice when the caps tot up, but you don’t think about it until people mention it to you.”

Gunter was also grateful for the countless messages of support he had received since taking over the captain's armband.

He wrote on Instagram: "Will never, ever forget last night.

"To captain the squad of players we have and the country is something of a dream come true.

"A proud night for family and friends.

"I really wish I could reply to all the messages, but I do see them all.

"The support from the Welsh public is something I'll also never forget, so just thank you. Gunts."

However, Royals striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson will be heading to Russia next summer after Iceland became the smallest ever nation to reach a World Cup finals.

A host more Reading players have been on international duty over the past week including Mo Barrow (Gambia), Anssi Jaakkola (Finland), Leandro Bacuna (Curacao), Axel Andresson (Iceland U21s), Jordan Holsgrove (Scotland U19s) and Jack Nolan (England U17s).