WORLD CUP PREVIEW

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

WORLD CUP PREVIEW Mon: USA v Wales

A 17-year-old Pele starred in the last World Cup that Wales qualified for in 1958. They will be hoping to make a happy return on Monday evening in a pivotal opening group match against the USA at the Al Rayyan Stadium.

The 2018 World Cup was a major disappointment after defeat to Trinidad & Tobago in their final qualifying match saw them miss out on a spot at the tournament.

They are back for the 2022 tournament, though, and will be hoping to make up for lost time under the stewardship of Gregg Berhalter who took over in 2018 after the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup in Russia.

Berhaulter has made some bold surprising choices with his squad selection, leaving out some familiar faces, but they still have possibly the strongest squad they have ever had at a World Cup with Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Brendan Aaronson adding some exciting quality to their roster.

USA have reached the knockout-stages in four of their last seven World Cup appearances – and will be confident of achieving that again this time around – but this opening match against Wales could be crucial.

USA v Wales
FIFA World Cup 2022 Group B
19:00 ITV1 / S4C / STV / S4C Online / ITVX / STV Player

LAST FIVE STATS

HEAD-TO-HEAD
NOV 2020 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Wales 0-0 USA
MAY 2003 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY USA 2-0 Wales

USA
SEP 2022 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY Saudi Arabia 0-0 USA
SEP 2022 INTENATIONAL FRIENDLY Japan 2-0 USA
JUN 2022 CONCACAF NATIONS LEAGUE El Salvador 1-1 USA
JUN 2022 CONCACAF NATIONS LEAGUE USA 5-0 Grenada
JUN 2022 INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY USA 0-0 Uruguay

WALES
SEP 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Wales 0-1 Poland
SEP 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Belgium 2-1 Wales
JUN 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Netherlands 3-2 Wales
JUN 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Wales 1-1 Belgium
JUN 2022 NATIONS LEAGUE Wales 1-2 Netherlands

Not much is expected from Wales at this World Cup but, as we know from their fabulous run at EURO 2016, this side know how to defy the odds and punch above their weight at major tournaments. Can they do it again?

Well, as mentioned before, second-spot in the group looks their most likely route to the knockout stages with England the firm favourites to finish top. With USA also vying for that same spot, as mentioned before, this opening match of the tournament could be make-or-break for their chances.

Gareth Bale is still the main man in this Wales side, but manager Rob Page has managed to find a way of maximising his squad and making it a lot more than just a β€˜one man team’.

Their team spirit, which is really to be admired, could also help them on this World Cup journey as they look to make an impression on their first appearance at the finals of the tournament for 64 years.

They have close to clean bill of health, their only concern is Joe Allen who – although has been selected – has not featured for club Swansea City since mid-September and is likely to be lacking in match sharpness.

Wales have struggled for clean sheets since EURO 2020 with their fragility in defence being exposed on occassion and I expect them to concede here, but their quality in attack – which of course includes Bale – means they will always be threatening at the other end as well. Both teams to score looks the play here with starsports.bet.

JOE CITRONE


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PROFIT/LOSS (WORLD CUP 2022): LOSS -0.06 points (after matches on Sun 20 Nov)
(Will include returns from both the OUTRIGHT and SPECIALS previews too)


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