England manager Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane during a training session ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018
England manager Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane during a training session ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2018 (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Football | World Cup 2022 | England vs Wales in must-win clash for both teams

By Robert Wheeler

  • England is currently topping the Group
  • Wales needs to win to have any chance of progressing
  • It could be the final game for Gareth Bale

QATAR – It all comes down to the final game of the group, England vs Wales in the ‘Battle of Britain.’


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England has had a mixed start to Group B, they thrashed Iran 6-2 in their opening game. However, the 0-0 draw with the United States has been troubling for Gareth Southgate. If they had won then they would have already been through to the knockout stages and would have had a chance to rest players for the fixture with Wales. Now they must play a full-strength side to make sure they finish top of the group.

Harry Kane who was a doubt for this game with a foot injury is desperate to start as he chases Wayne Rooney‘s goalscoring record. Rooney scored 53 for his country and Kane just needs three more goals to become England’s all-time top goalscorer. Kane is still only 29 and he will no doubt break the record at some point but facing this passionate Wales side will be a challenge for the Three Lions.

No team at the tournament wants to beat England more than Wales. They are deflated following their 2-0 defeat to Iran but they still have a chance to go through. Albeit a very slim one. Rob Page‘s side needs a win and for Iran vs the USMNT to finish in a draw if they are to qualify for the knockout stages.

England will qualify as long as they do not lose by four or more goals to Wales. A draw could still be enough to see them top the group but only if Iran beat the USMNT or if Gregg Berhalter‘s side win by four goals.

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This game will likely signal the end of an era for many of Wales’ recent greats. Gareth Bale is now 33 and after playing just 12 times for Los Angeles FC this season with almost all of those appearances coming off the bench, there are rumours that he may retire after this game despite being contracted to LAFC until June 2023. Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen are 31 and 32 respectively and having achieved playing in Wales’ first World Cup since 1958 they may feel it is time to end on a high and retire from international football at least after the tournament.

Last time the two side’s met at a major tournament in Euro 2016 the game finished in a 2-1 win to England. Bale gave Wales the lead with a free-kick which Joe Hart fumbled. Jamie Vardy equalised before Daniel Sturridge got the winner in the 91st minute.

Much talk has been on the Welsh being more up for this fixture than England. However, the celebrations after Sturridge’s goal six years ago showed how much it meant to the Three Lions with Gary Neville who was part of Roy Hodgson‘s staff running down the touchline to join in with a team bundle.

Southgate has also expressed how his side will match the passion of Wales and was quoted in the Telegraph saying, “I would be very disappointed if someone says to me that their players will want it more than ours.”

It is sure to be a passionate match with both teams not just playing for points but for pride. Anything can happen in a derby match and this rivalry between two of the home nations will be a thriller.

Score prediction: England 2-0 Wales

England vs Wales kicks off at 7 pm tomorrow night live on BBC 1.


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