Let’s not beat around the bush here.
Wales require something extraordinary. They need to be extraordinary.
A performance and ideally a result that fully represents Wales’ form, character and ability to grind out a result when needed. That hasn’t happened so far at this World Cup.
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So what’s the problem? Has the stardust that is Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey dried up?
- Wales 0-2 Iran – Match report | ‘That is devastating’ – Rob Earnshaw left dejected after Iran’s late goals
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Are they just not fit enough or have the match time in their legs to have the impact needed? Has Rob Page got his tactics wrong? Has the intensity of their opponents so far come as a shock? So many questions could be asked.
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Joe Thomlinson and Dougie Critchley of Euro Football Daily discusses what Wales’ loss to Iran means for the national team moving forward.
However, just for now, it’s about one thing – finding a way to beat England. That’s it. I just cannot see Wales getting a 4-0 win over England so the other option for progression in Qatar involves the help of USA and Iran, that is they draw.
Wales then require just a win over England. Just a win over England! Sounds easy on paper! It’s a daunting task.
Wales train in Qatar ahead of their final group match against England and what could be their final match of the 2022 World Cup.
How do Wales go about beating England? Guts, sheer determination and a will to somehow win. It will be lung bustlingly painful. Also, execute the game plan.
Page will be tempted to make changes, bring on from the start the pace and youthful exuberance that Brennan Johnson has. Perhaps.
Prior to training, Wales held a minute’s silence in honour of Gary Speed on the 11th anniversary of his death.
Perhaps not. Will he divert from his preferred back three? Probably not as the back three has previously served Wales so very well.
No knee-jerk changes even though an extraordinary effort is required against England. Knee-jerk decisions and ‘revolutionary’ short-term thinking in football rarely goes well.
And so that brings me to Bale and Ramsey.
Wales manager Rob Page has called on his players to put on a performance to be proud of against England but won’t be drawn on whether he will start with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
Does Page think the unthinkable and drop either or both? That chatter is out there, but I just can’t see it happening.
Those two can alter a game, maybe they can’t last 90 minutes, but better to still be in a game after 60-70 minutes when they have to exit the stage rather than be two goals down with that talent sitting unused on the bench.
What is Wales’ potential route to the final?*
Clinton Morrison and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk assess Wales’ chances of beating England and qualifying for the knockout stages of the tournament.
If Wales win Group B….
Sunday December 4 – Last 16: Wales vs Ecuador (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 7pm)
Saturday December 10 – Quarter-final: Wales vs France (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 7pm)
Wednesday December 14 – Semi-final: Wales vs Belgium (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor; kick-off 7pm)
Sunday December 18 – Final: Wales vs Netherlands (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 3pm)
If Wales finish second in Group B…
Saturday December 3 – Last 16: Netherlands vs Wales (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 3pm)
Friday December 9 – Quarter-final: Wales vs Argentina (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; 7pm)
Tuesday December 13 – Semi-final: Wales vs Brazil (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 7pm)
Sunday December 18 – Final: Wales vs France (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 3pm)
*Based on highest FIFA world ranking finishing top of respective groups and winning knock-out games
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