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    What Would Be a Successful World Cup for Wales?




    In many ways, qualifying for a first World Cup in 1958 is already a huge success for Wales. However, Rob Page and his team will not want to settle for qualification alone. They will be hoping to make a name for themselves later this year in Qatar.


    Here is a look at what would be a good tournament for Wales at the 2022 World Cup, and if they have a realistic chance of having a deep run into the latter stages.

    Qualify for Knockout Stages

    Wales have been drawn inside the same group as England, Iran and the United States for the upcoming World Cup. England will obviously be the toughest test they will face, but they only need to finish in the top two to qualify.

    Unfortunately, Wales have lost their last six encounters with England, with their last success against the Three Lions coming in 1984 at the British Home Championship in Cardiff. They did run England close at Euro 2016, as it took a Daniel Sturridge goal in stoppage time to deny them a draw.
    According to the governing body's World rankings, USA are the second highest-rated team in the group. They are 16th in the standings, two positions above Wales. The North American country finished third in the CONCACAF table behind Canada and Mexico respectively.
    Iran made it through to their third straight World Cup finals after finishing top of Group A in the AFC. They are ranked 21st with FIFA, which indicates they are the weakest team Wales will face.

    As of the 15th June, Wales are second-best behind England in the Group B football betting at 11/2. Those odds suggest they will have a good chance of finishing runner-up in the standings and qualifying into the knockout stages of the tournament.
    Last 16 or Quarter Finals

    Reaching the knockout stages of the World Cup would be a huge achievement for Wales. It would be clear evidence of how far the country has progressed over the last 10 years in the sport.

    In 1958, Wales made it through to the quarter-finals of the tournament. They finished second behind Sweden in their group. They then had to beat Hungary in a play-off to reach the last eight. Terry Medwin scored the winning goal in a 2-1 success.

    Wales’ run at the 1958 World Cup was ended by the eventual winners, as Brazil beat them 1-0 in the quarter-finals. It took a goal from one of the greatest players of all time, Pelé, to eliminate them from the tournament in Sweden.
    One of the targets Wales may have this year is to better or improve on their showing at Euro 2020. They were beaten by Denmark in the last 16 of that tournament. At the time, it was a disappointing result, however, the Danes have shown since then they are a very good side.
    Not only did they reach the semi-finals of the competition, pushing England to extra-time, but they are also going strong in the UEFA Nations League this year, in a group which includes France and Croatia.

    Last Four and Beyond
    It was only six years that Wales had their best finish at a major tournament. They made it all the way through to the semi-finals at Euro 2016. They were beaten 2-0 by Portugal in their last-four encounter.

    In the tournament in France, Wales got the better of Belgium in the quarter-finals. They went into that game as the huge underdogs, but they produced a memorable performance to prevail 3-1, thanks to goals from Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Gareth Bale.

    The task in Qatar is going to be even tougher than in 2016 as Brazil and Argentina are two of the American giants who will be joining the likes of France, England, Belgium and Spain from Europe as teams who will fancy their chances of going all the way.

    With the self-belief Page’s players have in themselves, they will be confident that they can produce something special, so it would be wrong to write them off, even if the betting suggests the last 16 may be as far they will progress.
    Wales’ opening game of the 2022 World Cup takes place on 21st November when they take on the United States at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan.

    [ photo embedded from FAW Cymru ]

    Posted: Friday 17th June 2022
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