What a nail-biting World Cup qualification it has been for the national football team, but after a 62-year absence from the biggest football competition, Wales will be competing in Qatar later this year.
Qualifying the hard way with a tense 1-0 playoff win over Ukraine, The Dragons will face a tough time playing in Group B in November. But if there is one thing the world should have taken note of is that Wales does not give up easily.
The nation will be cheering Rob Page’s team, who will not show up just to make up the numbers. It is widely understood that Wales has little chance of winning the World Cup, but progressing out of the Group stage will show they mean business.
There is no easy draw at the World Cup, but Wales has an excellent chance of qualifying for the next round on paper. If you are unaware of the teams, continue reading for a breakdown of our opponents.
Islamic Republic of Iran
Iran will be making their sixth appearance at the World Cup Finals, yet they have only won two games in the finals. The nation is proud of the team and follows every game passionately. Most Iranians consider football the national sport and take it very seriously. Currently ranked 22nd by FIFA, they are not a team to be underestimated.
Given the teams in Group B, it is hard to see Iran continue beyond the group stage, but they are sure to give the other teams, including Wales, very tough games.
The United States
Everybody knows football or “soccer” is not the United States national sport. But the States have made much progress in their game over the years. Many people consider that the main problem with America’s football is a lack of funding for grassroots football. The country is made up of many nationalized South Americans, yet they still can’t put together a quality national team. Maybe one day they will but not now and not this World Cup.
Wales should have no problem besting the United States. The last match the two teams played was back in November 2020, Wales was the better team on the night but failed to score, and the game ended in a one-all draw. The United States players Wales should be concerned about are Christian Pulisic, the Chelsea attacking midfielder, and Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie.
Old Foe, England
When it comes to sport, there is no love lost between Wales and England, and whether it is football or rugby, the game is bound to be a fierce contest. England is considered to be the favorite to top Group B. Since the arrival of Gareth Southgate in 2016, England has been playing some impressive football. Southgate’s England team almost got to the final at the Russian-held World Cup in 2018 but lost to Croatia in the semi-finals.
The signs were there for all to see, and England then qualified for Euro 2020 held in England. Reaching the final, they once again fell short, losing the final to Italy on penalties. When it comes to English football, it is like playing online roulette; you never know how it will end up.
England is now ranked 5th in the FIFA world rankings and is bookmakers’ third favorite to lift the Qatar World Cup. Despite England’s good form, Wales will never simply roll over and give in to England.
For Wales to qualify for the next round after Group B wins against the United States and Iran will be essential. But bloodying the nose of the English would bring just as much satisfaction to the nation. Wales will play the United States on the 21st of November at 8 pm in both teams’ opening game.