Wales play their first World Cup finals fixture since 1958 as Group B continues at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan tonight. It has been a long 64 years, but now Gareth Bale and company are ready to make a major splash on football’s biggest stage after coming through that play-off against Ukraine. Few can forget their run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, while they also reached the knockout stages last summer.
But the United States are also eyeing qualification for the last-16, eager to make up for lost time after the pain of missing out on the 2018 tournament in Russia altogether. That was the first time they had missed the World Cup since 1986, though decent strides have since been made under head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Wales are missing Joe Allen for this evening’s opener, though captain Bale is ready to fire. The USA had doubts over the likes of Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest, but both are fit, while Tyler Adams has been chosen as captain ahead of Christian Pulisic. Follow USA vs Wales live below, with expert analysis from Malik Ouzia at the ground.
Gareth Bale: Playing in a World Cup is the biggest honour of my career
“It’s probably the biggest honour we could have for our country, qualifying for a World Cup, something we haven’t done in 64 years,” said Bale.
“It’s history in our country. Schools are going to stop to watch our games. Kids are going to miss school, fortunately for them.
“It’s a massive piece of history in our country and something we have all wanted for a long time.
“We have the support of the nation back home, no matter what happens, as long as we give 100% our country will love us for that.”
Christian Pulisic looking to make a World Cup statement
”I think being American, it means something … and that’s why every time I put on that jersey, I hope that I can inspire people back home,” said the Chelsea forward.
Kieffer Moore sends message to England
The Wales striker is dreaming about knocking England out of the World Cup.
“It would be amazing,” said the Bournemouth forward, who was once capped by England C.
Bale finally gets deserved chance to perform on biggest stage
The best player of his generation never to play at a World Cup will shake off that unwanted mantle this evening, when Wales meet the USA in Al Rayyan.
For several generations of Welsh fans, the wait to watch their team on football’s biggest stage will finally end, too.
Gareth Bale made his international debut at 16, in May 2006, in a pre-tournament friendly against a Trinidad & Tobago side about to head off to a World Cup that would put the Caribbean nation’s tally of World Cup appearances on a par with Cuba, Haiti, Kuwait, Indonesia — and Wales, whose own qualifying campaign had been another disaster. Between the 2002 and 2006 editions, Wales won just three out of 20 matches, against Belarus, Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan.
A second World Cup, and first since 1958, had seldom seemed further away, but with Bale’s gradual evolution, from full-back to forward, Tottenham jinx to Real Galactico, came Wales’s at first steady and then, in France in 2016, accelerated rise as a genuine footballing force.
Wales World Cup 2022 guide: Star player, fixtures, squad, one to watch, odds to win
Back at a World Cup for the first time since 1958, there is plenty of excitement in Wales going into Qatar.
They have enjoyed some memorable tournaments recently, particularly at Euro 2016 when they reached the semi-finals, and are dreaming of more history.
The stage feels set for Gareth Bale to be a hero.
USA World Cup 2022 guide: Star player, fixtures, squad, one to watch, odds to win
After failing to qualify for the last World Cup, the United States will be keen to make an impact this time around in Qatar.
The USA will host the next tournament in 2026 with Canada and Mexico and, as a result, investment and interest in the sport is growing.
Coach Gregg Berhalter is under pressure to succeed.
Prediction: 1-1 draw
The United States are one of the teams heading into the tournament without a huge amount of positive energy, something which the Welsh team can tend to almost exclusively trade on.
Still, a nervy and edgy affair is most likely to start both teams’ campaign.
A 1-1 draw.
Wales team news: Joe Allen ruled out
Joe Allen has been ruled out of the game with a hamstring injury. Allen was a major doubt having not played since September and the midfielder has lost his battle to be fit to face the US.
Wales will look to provide energy and pace around the focal figure of Gareth Bale.
USA team news: McKennie and Dest fit
The US will rely heavily on Christian Pulisic and Gio Reyna to create from the wide positions but come to Qatar without a recognised, top-level striker.
FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira could be entrusted to lead the line in a 4-3-3 setup.
Arsenal FC XI vs Lyon: Predicted lineup, confirmed team news and injury latest for Dubai Super Cup friendly
A handful of players remain unavailable while continuing on their path to World Cup glory in Qatar, such as Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.
Furthermore, those knocked out of the tournament will not feature with Takehiro Tomiyasu in particular asking for a break from football following Japan’s heartbreak against Croatia in the last-16.
Granit Xhaka flew straight from Qatar to Arsenal’s camp acoss the desert but is highly unlikely to feaure against Lyon.
Arsenal await their return with a mid-season trip to Dubai for a warm-weather training camp and this, the first of three friendlies.
Already, the Gunners have played a behind-closed-doors match with Watford that could shed some light on Arteta’s approach to this week’s games.
Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Magalhaes and Eddie Nketiah all started the 4-2 defeat before a team of academy players entered the fray after the break.
This included Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, Ethan Nwaneri and Lino Sousa. Given the youngsters conceded three goals without reply against Watford, they are likely to again have to settle for substitute appearances in the Lyon friendly.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Hein; Cedric, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney; Elneny, Lokonga, Odegaard; Nelson, Nketiah, Marquinhos.
Hansi Flick to remain Germany manager despite World Cup group-stage exit | Football News
Hansi Flick will remain as Germany coach despite the four-time World Cup winners exiting this year’s tournament in the group stages.
He will remain in charge of the country until at least Euro 2024, at the end of his existing contract.
Flick only took charge of the national team last year, on the back of leading Bayern Munich to the Champions League and two Bundesliga titles in as many years.
He succeeded Joachim Low, who led Germany to the World Cup in 2014, before a shock group-stage exit in 2018 and a last-16 defeat by England at Euro 2020 last year.
Under Flick, they were unable to reach the knockouts for a second straight World Cup thanks in large part to a 2-1 defeat by Japan, with a draw against Spain and victory over Costa Rica insufficient to send them through.
Speaking after that surprise elimination, Flick said: “If you know me and my team, I know we can get up quickly and recover from that. Now we need to assess our work during the World Cup and head in a different direction. This is the next step we are going to undertake and we will do that very soon.
“For the future of German football, we need to train differently. We will work on a future that is very important and very decisive, and we will see how we can implement our idea.
“For years we’ve been talking about new goalkeepers and wingbacks, but what was always good was that we defended well. We need the basics to be right.”
The ManningCast revolution should not have been televised
It would be interesting to see how much ESPN was responsible for of the $1.5 billion that Disney lost last quarter in the streaming section. What section of the Mothership do the contracts for Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and the Mannings fall under? After a year-plus, the nuance of the ManningCast has worn off. It Isn’t leading podcasts, and it’s easier to skip the second screen and just watch the easily digestible clips that ESPN uploads on the app while the game is going.
For whatever reason, Monday Night Football is just another primetime game, and it doesn’t have the luxury of being able to flex out games like Steelers-Colts or even the Bucs-Saints contest that was unwatchable for three-plus quarters. There’s an argument, and a pretty compelling one, that Buck and Aikman’s Fox Game of the Week slot was better than ESPN’s Monday showcase. There’s no doubt Sunday Night Football is preferable due to the pliability of the schedule.
I don’t care how charming Peyton and Eli are, if the teams on the field don’t matter, the audience will find something else to do on the trillions of streaming options. The ManningCast spinoffs suffer for the same reason that no NBA studio show can replicate Inside the NBA. Charles Barkley’s charisma cannot be duplicated just like the chemistry and repartee between two Super Bowl-winning brothers can’t be recreated.
Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay calling a game is an actual nightmare of Red Sox fans and the hoards of people who hate the Yankees and/or A-Rod, of which there are many. Pat McAfee used his connections with Peyton and Omaha Productions to develop a simulcast for college football, which is never going to work no matter how much he grows on you.
Baseball, basketball, and even college football don’t have a weekly monopoly of viewers. There’s always another game to flip to in the NBA and MLB, so the alternative to a shitty national broadcast game is a different matchup. The Association slashed their League Pass prices this year, and it’s never been easier to find illegal streams.
Primetime NFL games are routinely atop the ratings because they have the night to themselves, and half the reason viewers switch to ESPN 2 is because the game is an abomination. When a hyped Saturday showcase fizzles out, there are a million other options to watch, and none of them are McAfee screaming through a blowout. I can’t imagine that it’s worthy of a four-hour chunk of ESPN 2’s college football Saturday.
The ManningCast ratings are whatever and have plateaued during the second season. But, yes, let’s dedicate a production team and everything else that goes into it for a little over a million viewers on a channel that’s in direct competition with the one we want everybody watching.
I don’t see how a ManningCast on Sunday night would benefit NBC because they shut down their nationally dedicated sports network, and it would run on USA or Peacock. I guess Amazon could try something on Thursdays, but they have an even shittier schedule, and people have a hard enough time remembering the game is on Prime — or that it’s even on at all.
The worst attempts are cheap knockoffs, with outlets throwing talking heads in front of a camera and having them regurgitate the same takes they’ve been spewing all week. Fucking hell, I can’t watch the pregame as it is, and now I’m supposed to spend an extra three hours with some I can’t stand for a half hour? Absolutely not.
It’s really hard to be engaging for long stretches on a PG-13 restriction. That’s why I wait for the perfectly cut clips of Peyton and Eli. The show doesn’t work for a full four wuarters, and a bad game bogs down the show like a bad host makes for a clunky SNL. The Manning bros are more or less live-streaming a football game interspersed with big-name guests that normal sportscasters can’t book.
It’s successful because of the two hosts. You know what I’d also watch those two lovable idiots do? Play charades like in the Caesars commercial. The way Eli delivers, “It’s 27 words” is hilarious, and Peyton telling his teammate to “Stop guessing helmet catch” is incredible. Who knows if they’d work in a studio setting just because most of what they do best is a product of filling time. The lasting moments from Inside the NBA come when Chuck, Shaq, and Kenny go off the rails after a long night in Studio J.
Now that we’ve arrived at the juncture where I’m repeating previously stated points, I’ll finish with this. The ManningCast didn’t revolutionize sports programming. Certain athletes are better at broadcasting than others, and they’re afforded a format that’s not replicable in any other sport, not even its amateur version. They’ve been remarkable in an opportunity that’s possible for 0.000000001 percent of sportscasters.
Kudos. Congrats. It worked for a company that lost a billion five in a quarter and hasn’t been able to duplicate it. You want to revolutionize sports media? Create whatever comes after Twitter.
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