After a 64-year exodus from the world’s biggest stage, Wales will be taking their place at the World Cup in Qatar, and they will open their campaign with a fascinating Group B clash with the USA. A lot has changed since 1958 and the heady heights of then when Wales were locking horns with Pele and Brazil. However, they will be looking to create a stir and they could be one of the dark horses.
Meanwhile, the USA will fancy their chances in Group B, and they boast a young team full of athleticism, as well as eye-catching wide players in the likes of Gio Reyna and Christian Pulisic.
There will be a few key talking points to chew over, but here are some stats to bear in mind ahead of this matchup:
- The USA and Wales have met twice before, with both encounters ending in a tie.
- Brenden Aaronson is the only player in the EPL to have won more tackles inside the opposition’s penalty area.
- Wales have been rather porous in defense and they have kept just one clean sheet in their past nine matches — a record that dates back to March.
- Under Gregg Berhalter, his team has averaged 2.15 goals for and 0.64 goals against, which is better than any of his predecessors.
Naturally, there will be a raft of top US online betting sites prepared to jump on board and offer a wide range of pre-match lines for what is perhaps one of the standout matches in the first round of group games.
With that in mind, we have dissected the odds and picked out a couple of tips for you to feast on ahead of kick-off.
A cagey tie
High expectations will be placed on both the USA and Wales, and we have a mouth-watering game in prospect. Although the USA scraped through the qualifying stages, Berhalter has plenty of attacking weapons at his disposal, and Pulisic could wreak havoc if given half an opportunity. Wales are quick in transition on the counter, and the USA will need to press high up the field if they are going to have any joy and expose any vulnerabilities in the Welsh backline.
Nevertheless, there was some cause for concern in the USA’s pre-World Cup friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia in September which left more questions than answers.
However, as you might expect, given that this is the first game of the group stages, and so there will be some cagey moments. A tie is available at a tempting +200 with BetMGM, while FanDuel is offering a price of +500 for it to be 1-1 if you prefer the Correct Score section.
In the group stages, getting off to a good start is imperative. A draw isn’t a terrible result, and it is one that both sides will happily accept.
Gareth Bale to find the back of the net
For a player of Gareth Bale’s caliber, it seems somewhat surprising that he will be making his World Cup debut. The poster boy of Wales is the undoubted threat in the squad, and he is certainly a game changer. Being one of the trump cards in the camp alongside Aaron Ramsey, Bale will come into sharp focus in Qatar, and he will be eager to add to his 40-goal haul for Wales.
The USA can’t afford to be too passive, otherwise, Bale and co will be eager to capitalize. Although Bale hasn’t completed a full 90 minutes for LAFC since joining the MLS outfit, we all know what he is capable of. Bale has everything in his locker and aligned with blistering pace, he has an eye for goal. One that could catch the USA off guard, and if he’s fully firing, he will give the USA rearguard a good working over.
Given what we know about Bale, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him end up on the scoresheet. If you like the look of the Anytime Goalscorer section, then Bale is trading at an inviting +200 with BetMGM which may be worth exploring further.