It all comes down to this for Wales’s hopes at the Fifa World Cup – the “big one” against England. If Robert Page’s team are to progress to the round of 16, then they must start by beating their British rivals at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday night.
To put it simply, Wales require “a miracle” against the Three Lions, said Henry Burt on 90min.com. They’ll need to gain three points and “pull off a remarkable swing in goal difference” in order to progress.
Wales have “overcome the odds” before in major tournaments, said Dafydd Pritchard of BBC Sport Wales. “Most notably” by beating Belgium in their “momentous” Euro 2016 quarter-final. They have “nothing to lose” against England, but Page must “learn lessons” from the first two matches, be “ready to change tactically” and finally give Wales fans “a performance to match their pride” at seeing their country finally play at a World Cup.
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Top of the table going into the final World Cup group B games, Gareth Southgate’s England are within touching distance of the knockouts. England can qualify with a win or a draw and know they can even progress if they avoid a four-goal loss.
Speaking ahead of the “local derby”, Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson is looking forward to the battle. “It’s going to be emotional,” he said. “You have big challenges in football and hopefully we deal with them in the right way.”
‘We’ll put our big-boy pants on’
Following their draw against the USA and loss against Iran, Wales boss Page admits that the team are “getting a bit of criticism” right now, and “rightly so” because results haven’t gone their way. But he said the squad are “big enough to take it” and it’s not a problem. “We’ll put our big-boy pants on and get on with it,” he added. “We’ll have a team that’s ready for England.”
Even though a draw will see them qualify, England head coach Southgate said the aim is to “win football matches”, but he has to “balance freshness with stability” and that’s “always the decision you’re making” when picking the team. “We have a chance to win the group with a positive result,” he added. On the local derby feel to the game, Southgate believes it’s “a great sporting rivalry”, but “no more than that”. It’s going to be a “fantastic atmosphere” and “we are really looking forward to the game”. England “have to match the spirit” of Wales, but “I’d be disappointed if we didn’t do that [anyway]”.
- Who: Wales vs. England
- What: Fifa World Cup group B matchday three
- When: Tuesday 29 November 2022
- Where: Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
- Kick-off time: 7pm (all times GMT)
How to watch on TV in the UK
The clash between Wales and England is live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Welsh language channel S4C will also show the match. BBC’s coverage begins at 6pm and the match kicks off at 7pm. Presenter Gary Lineker is joined in the studio by Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, Ian Rush and Ashley Williams. Tuesday’s other group match – Iran vs. USA – is live on BBC Two and also kicks off at 7pm.
A big day for business
Around four million football supporters will “pile into pubs, bars and restaurants” to down 12m pints during tonight’s Wales vs. England match, said the Daily Star. Despite the cost-of-living crisis, £270m is predicted to be spent, with up to £43m splashed in pubs and restaurants. Another 12.9m fans will watch from home, forking out £141m on booze and food, and spending £50m upgrading TVs and other electrics ahead of the group B finale. Meanwhile, £27m has been spent on sportswear and £7.6m on other items including souvenirs.
Wales will be without suspended goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who was sent off in the 2-0 defeat against Iran. Danny Ward came on in that match and will start against England. Midfielder Joe Allen also made a substitute appearance in the second group game and he is expected to be named in the starting XI.
Southgate could make changes in the England attack after Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka had off nights in the goalless draw with the USA. Phil Foden, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish will be pushing for a starting spot in support of captain Harry Kane up top.
Defender Kyle Walker is in line to start his first England game at this World Cup, said Matt Law in The Telegraph. But it “remains to be seen” whether it will be in “a back three or a back four”. Jordan Henderson could also come into the midfield, “potentially at the expense of Jude Bellingham”. Defender Ben White missed training yesterday because of illness, but James Maddison is back with the group.
Possible starting XIs
- Wales: Ward; Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, Ramsey, Ampadu, Williams; James, Moore, Bale
- England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Henderson; Sterling, Mount, Foden; Kane
Wales have no choice but to “go all out in order to win this game”, said Henry Burt on 90min.com. In all honesty, this should be “a straightforward win for the Three Lions”. The gaps in the Welsh midfield have been “incredibly noticeable” in their first two games, and as they “throw men forward in search of goals” there should be “plenty of space for England to exploit”. Prediction: Wales 0 England 2.
Facing their “most important game in recent memory” against a British rival, a “galvanised” Wales side “should not be counted out on the mentality side of things”, said Ben Knapton on SportsMole. But we are still expecting Southgate’s team to “find their shooting boots and confirm a last-16 place”, inflicting “World Cup heartbreak on their neighbours in the process”. Prediction: Wales 0 England 1.
When you consider both sides’ results against Iran in this tournament, “it shouldn’t be too difficult to understand why we’re backing England to record a comprehensive victory here”, said Nathan Evans on Sporting News. After England’s draw against the USA, a “more conservative set-up” won’t be needed against Wales, plus the “additional option to hit their opposition on the counter-attack” will likely see them “get on the scoresheet multiple times”. Prediction: Wales 0 England 3.
This is England’s first ever World Cup match against a fellow British side and “our model has them as the favourites for this one”, said Patric Ridge on Opta Analyst. England are given a “66% chance of victory”, while Wales are rated as having a “13.1% hope”. The draw is at 20.9%.
Inspired by the sand dunes, you’ll find Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on the edge of the desert in Al Rayyan, west of Doha. The 40,000-capacity venue will host seven World Cup matches, six in the group stage and one round of 16 tie.
Group B permutations
How the group could play out on Tuesday, according to Fifa:
- England will qualify with a win or draw. Depending on goal difference, the Three Lions could also make it through in defeat.
- Wales must win to have any chance of progressing .
- Iran are guaranteed to progress if they beat USA.
- A draw will also take the Iranians through provided Wales do not beat England (in which case goal difference will come into play).
- For USA, it’s simple: win and they are through. Lose or draw and they will be heading home.
Fixtures and results
Monday 21 November
Friday 25 November
Tuesday 29 November
- Wales vs. England (Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium; 7pm; BBC One/S4C)
- Iran vs. USA (Al Thumama Stadium; 7pm; BBC Two)
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