Prediction: USA vs Wales – Soccer News

November 20, 2022


Verdict: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: 888sport

The United States of America and Wales will face each other in the opening round of Group B at the World Cup in Qatar on Monday evening, at the Al-Rayyan Stadium. A couple of hours before that, England will take on Iran in the same group.

USA

There was a time when the USA were considered as complete outsiders at such tournaments, against almost any opposition, and when nobody really gave them much chance to progress from their group. Those days are, however, gone, and they are a quite respectable team these days, with a number of players wearing the colors of top clubs around Europe.

The USA are currently involved in the CONCACAF Nations League, where they are in Group D with El Salvador and Grenada. They are currently second to El Salvador with four points from two matches played, but both opponents have already played three.

Gregg Berhalter’s team qualified for the World Cup by finishing third in the CONCACAF qualifying group, behind Canada and Mexico in the top two spots and edging out fourth-place Costa Rica on goal-difference.

The USA’s last-six run, for what it’s worth in regards to the World Cup, consists of wins over Morocco and Grenada, draws against Uruguay, El Salvador and Saudi Arabia, and a defeat against Japan.

Team News

There was a long period when Berhalter seemed uncertain about whether Matt Turner or Zack Steffen should be his No.1 goalkeeper, but that debate was settled when the 26-man squad for the World Cup was announced – there was no Steffen on the list, which means Turner, the backup option at Arsenal, is almost certain to start in Qatar. What exactly got Berhalter to decide to leave the Manchester City loanee out completely is a bit of a mystery, but there’s not much point in discussing it any further.

Upfront, Jesus Ferreira seems the likeliest choice to lead the line, although Haji Wright and Josh Sargent have been on fine form too recently. If, on the other hand, Berhalter decides to go with a ‘false nine’, it would likely be Borussia Dortmund star Giovanni Reyna, a much more creative player whose presence would leave space for the likes of Tim Weah and Christian Pulisic to charge goalwards from the flanks. Juventus’ Weston McKennie should start in midfield.

Wales

Much like the USA, Wales are a nation that has made significant progress over the last decade, producing a couple of genuine top-level stars, and they’re no picnic to face anymore.

As for this particular tournament, Rob Page’s team qualified by finishing second in Group E in Europe, five points behind winners Belgium and just edging out Czech Republic, and then by going through the play-offs in which they first disposed of Austria, and eventually Ukraine as Gareth Bale nailed the only goal of the final.

Wales have had a rather unsuccessful Nations League campaign. They finished last in League A Group 4, behind Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, and they will consequently compete in League B in the next edition of this competition.

As for the last six matches Wales have played, they were that win over Ukraine, a draw against Belgium, and defeats to Netherlands (twice), Belgium and Poland.

Team News

Bale is, of course, the main and best-known name in this squad and his pace and left foot will surely represent the greatest threat for any opposition. Kieffer Moore and Dan James are likely to join the former Real Madrid star upfront, with Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey pairing up in the middle of the park. Tottenham Hotspur defender Ben Davies will be on the left defensive flank.

Conclusion

The clash between these two teams promises to be a fairly balanced affair in terms of quality, and neither side will want to attack too rashly and risk getting exposed at the back. Not too many chances are to be expected, and not too many goals.

Verdict: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: 888sport