USA vs Wales : Match preview, team news and possible lineups

Last Updated on 20/11/2022 by

In their Group B opener against the USA in Al Rayyan on Monday night, Wales will play in their first World Cup finals in 64 years.

It’s a match between two nations, one of which has been away from the World Cup for a lot longer than the other. Up until the United States missed the 2018 World Cup, qualifying for the tournament had become standard procedure, but Wales will play in their first World Cup game in 64 years on Monday. And team manager Rob Page insists that his team isn’t in Qatar to merely fill seats.

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Wales hasn’t reached the championship game since 1958, when a 17-year-old Pele and his Brazil team eliminated them in the quarterfinals, marking the longest gap in history between appearances.

Gareth Bale will once again be the centre of attention as the Welsh team’s star player after his heroics in the playoffs, which included putting up two goals against Austria in the semis and assisting Yarmolenko on his own goal.

However, the Dragons have participated in the previous two European Championships, going all the way to the semifinals in 2016 and the first knockout round in 2017. After replacing Ryan Giggs, Page cemented his place in Welsh folklore by leading Wales to its second-ever World Cup. He is now aiming for another illustrious tournament run.

Wales is ranked 19th in the world, three spots behind USA, having defeated Austria and Ukraine in the play-offs to secure their spot in Qatar. A group with four top-20 nations, Group B also includes England and Iran, making it the most difficult to predict on paper.

After disappointingly missing the 2018 World Cup finals due to a loss in Trinidad & Tobago in their final qualifier, the USA is back at the tournament. The top four countries this time around were divided by just 3 points in a very tough qualifying section, but the USA was able to secure one of the 3 immediate spots, just in front of Costa Rica.

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Wales has significantly less World Cup experience than the USA, who are competing in their first finals in eight years after missing out on qualifying for the 2018 tournament in Russia. In fact, among CONCACAF nations, only Mexico has participated in more World Cups, and the USA has advanced to the knockout stages three times in its last four appearances.

Ricardo Pepi and Zack Steffen were among those left off the roster by head coach Gregg Berhalter, who nevertheless plans to stick to his preferred playing style. The USA will face the opposition for the third time in their history on Monday, and they are unbeaten thus far thanks to a win and a tie, both in friendlies.

USA Team News

Zack Steffen was supposed to be the American goalkeeper in Qatar, but after a disappointing season with Manchester City that saw him supplanted by Stefan Ortega as a backup, he has been eliminated from the team entirely.

Matt Turner and Ethan Horvath are vying to start in goal, and Turner, an Arsenal player, played in both September friendlies, so he might have the advantage. Although Weston McKennie has not played for Juventus since October, he should be able to start in midfield in this match.

The attacking third is where the US excels, and Berhalter has a wealth of options there. As a result, one or two players may be unfortunate to be left out, as Timothy Weah, Gio Reyna, and Jesus Ferreira are all vying to start in attack along with Christian Pulisic.

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USA possible starting lineup:

Turner; Sergino Dest, Zimmerman, Long, A Robinson; Adams, Weston McKennie, Aaronson; Reyna, Ferreira, Christian Pulisic

Wales Team News

Gareth Bale said earlier this week that despite being limited to mostly cameo roles since joining LAFC in the MLS this year, he is ready and willing to play the full 90 minutes in each of Wales’ three group games if necessary.

Joe Allen has been sidelined with an injury since late September, but he expects to be able to play in this group opener. Rhys Norrington-Davies, a defender for Sheffield United, will not represent Wales in the tournament due to an injury sustained against Coventry City last month. This is not as fortunate for the defender.

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Wales possible starting lineup:

Hennessey; Roberts, Ampadu, Rodon, Davies, Williams; Allen, Ramsey; Gareth Bale, Moore, James

Players to Watch

Giovanni Reyna

Reyna, an attacker for Borussia Dortmund, is one of the more promising young players hoping to build on his four goals from his first 14 senior caps and have an impact in his first World Cup. Reyna, whose 20th birthday was just this month, would join his father Claudio as the 14th player in USA history to have earned 15 caps before turning 21. He will likely move around the field in the American attack, but when he is on the right, watch for him to use his imagination to combine with Sergio Dest of AC Milan to advance the ball. In the CONCACAF qualifying matches, the USMNT’s main attack came from that area.

Gareth Bale

At least one of Bale or Aaron Ramsey scored or assisted nine of Wales’ 13 goals in their last two major competitions, Euro 2016 and 2020. Although Bale didn’t get much playing time over the past year, it didn’t matter when he scored all three goals for Wales in their play-off victories over Austria and Ukraine. The 33-year-old, who recently helped Los Angeles FC win the MLS Cup, has said he is healthy enough to participate fully in each of the Dragons’ games in Qatar.



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