Wales will kick off their first World Cup campaign in 64 years against the United States of America at the Al Rayyan Stadium on Monday.
Wales will be on the World Cup stage for the first time since 1958 and they will be craving an opening-day win against the USA. Both countries have had gruesome qualifying campaigns and they need to get the ball rolling from the initial moments as they are here to inflict some damage on the big guns, and not just to make up the numbers.
The USA will be banking on their World Cup experience against Wales who are relatively new to this stage. This will be their 11th final after narrowly missing out on the 2018 campaign when they had a heartbreak in the final qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago.
Plenty of Premier League experience would be on offer as the likes of Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson would be coming to the tournament on the back of a pretty successful stint with Leeds United.
USMNT captain Christian Pulisic’s future is still not sorted and he is expected to find a new club as the Chelsea winger has become frustrated over his bit-part role. Manager Gregg Berhalter will be a bit worried as their pre-World Cup form hasn’t been that fascinating and their poor records against European teams could come back to haunt them.
Barring a jubilant qualifying campaign Wales have not really geared up for their World Cup challenge as a poor UEFA Nations League campaign demoted them to League B.
The Dragons tries to cede control of the game by lining up in a five-man backline with their wingbacks posing as the two extra bodies in midfield. Most of their attacks come through Gareth Bale while the likes of Daniel James and Brennan Johnson have also played their part.
Their magnificent qualifying campaign should pave the way for a memorable World Cup as Rob Page could further etch his name on the history books with a place in the knockouts this time.
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All smiles on the Saturday before the World Cup 😃 pic.twitter.com/XWwnRdFEDW
— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 19, 2022
Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner is expected to keep his place between the sticks. Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long will act as their primary line of defence while Sergino Dest and Leeds United defender Antonee Robinson will complete the defensive setup.
Tyler Adams can recycle possession with his excellent breakup play and he will be in the base of the midfield. Brenden Aaronson and Weston McKennie will be appearing to supply the creative spark from the midfield.
Christian Pulisic is a certain starter on the left while Borussia Dortmund attacker Giovanni Reyna will be on the right. Jesus Ferreira will lead the line in his first World Cup.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Turner; Dest, Zimmerman, Long, Antonee Robinson; Aaronson, Adams, McKennie; Reyna, Ferreira, Pulisic
Except for Rhys Norrington-Davies, Wales have a completely fit squad to choose from. Wayne Hennessey has been the preferred choice and he will start in the goal.
The three-man defence will consist of Ethan Ampadu, Joe Rodon, and Ben Davies. Neco Williams and Connor Roberts will hover as the wing-backs, while Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey will have the responsibility to drive the midfield machine. Gareth Bale will comprise the attacking three which will also include Kieffer Moore and Daniel James.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Hennessey; Ampadu, Rodon, Ben Davies; Connor Roberts, Allen, Ramsey, Neco Williams; James, Moore, Bale
- These two sides have never met in the World Cup earlier.
- This is USA’s 11th World Cup finals while this will be Wales’s second World Cup appearance.
- USA have managed only two clean sheets in their last 27 World Cup matches.
- At least one goal has been scored in USA’s 33 World Cup matches so far, the most by any side in the tournament.
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When Gareth Bale is playing, one can always expect some trickery as the Welsh wizard has maintained a pretty impressive record for his country. The 33-year-old will be donning his national colours probably one last time on the biggest stage, and he will go through possible every hoop to get his team a worthy sendoff from Qatar.
USA 1-1 Wales
Both teams will be vying for the second spot in the group as England are expected to win the group. With a hectic schedule in the offing, both of them will try to warm themselves up in a very cautious approach.