Fri, 02 Dec 2022

DOHA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Wales and the United States return to the World Cup on Tuesday when they face off in their opening Group B game and both will be keen to re-write the history in an early but decisive game.

With England expected to top the group, an early slip-up would leave the loser probably needing to beat a tough Iran side and avoid defeat against England to have a chance of reaching the last 16.

The USA is back at the World Cup after missing out on qualification in 2018 and will feel they have something to prove before they host the tournament in 2026 with Canada and Mexico.

The Americans are rebuilding for that tournament, although coach Gregg Berhalter surprised supporters by leaving young forward, Ricardo Pepi out of his squad. Nevertheless, he has promised his side will stick to the aggressive, high-pressing football that has characterized their football over the last couple of years.

While the USA are back at the World Cup after an eight-year hiatus, it has been a lot longer for the Welsh. The last time they played in the finals in 1958, Pele was a precocious 17-year-old talent for Brazil and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.

Coach Rob Page, who replaced Ryan Giggs after the former Manchester United player had to step down due to legal issues, has done a tremendous job in forming a solid group of players - many whom play in the lower divisions of the English game.

There is a feeling that this is a well-earned reward, but also the last chance for the veterans in the side, with Gareth Bale finally appearing at the World Cup aged 33. Chris Gunter is at the same age, while Joe Allen is 32 and Aaron Ramsey now 31.

Allen is likely to miss Monday's game as he finishes his recovery from a hamstring issue, but Bale has dismissed doubts about his fitness after playing less than an hour of competitive football in recent weeks.

Bale will probably lead the attack, with Daniel James and Harry Wilson offering tricky support out wide, and the 1 meter 96, Kieffer Moore giving the Welsh the options of playing high balls into the USA penalty area.

In what is likely to be a physical match, the USA will look to make their energy count in the heat, and it is vital for the Welsh, that their big-name players last the 90 minutes.

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