Gareth Bale in the 2022 FIFA World Cup group stage match between Wales and USA
Gareth Bale in the 2022 FIFA World Cup group stage match between Wales and USA | (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Football | World Cup 2022 | Wales overcome slow start to snatch a draw against USA

By Chris Sampson

  • Wales make solid return to World Cup Finals after 64 years
  • Strong second half sees Page’s men salvage a point after tactical change
  • Bale show’s again that he is the man for the big stage.

QATAR – Wales produced a stirring second half performance to get their World Cup campaign up and running, with a draw against the USA.


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Gareth Bale was once again the hero for Wales, the skipper winning and converting a late penalty to claim a draw against the United States. In his country’s first World Cup Finals match for 64 years Bale once again proved that he is the man for the big occasion as he stepped up to fire home and send the travelling Welsh support wild.

The United States had been the better team throughout the first half with Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah causing problems out wide, and the midfield trio of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah and Tyler Adams controlling the game. Wales had opted to start Dan James upfront with Bale, hoping that his pace would cause the USA problems. However, they could not break the press and, when they were forced to play the ball long, they could not hold it up. The Dragons were left effectively playing a back five, with the wing-backs pushed deep, the midfield overrun and the front two isolated.

The States’ first chance came on nine minutes when Weah’s cross from the right was headed towards his own goal by Joe Rodon and cannoned off goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. Seconds later, as the ball was returned to the danger-zone, Josh Sargent glanced a close-range header against the post.

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The breakthrough came on 36 minutes. Pulisic drove at the Welsh defence and Sargent dropped deep to drag Rodon out of position, allowing the Chelsea forward to slip a pass in behind for Weah, who smartly jabbed the ball past Hennessey and into the bottom corner.

Robert Page´s decision to introduce Bournemouth striker Kieffer Moore at half-time changed the game. It revitalised Wales, whose newfound energy and purpose turned a one-sided affair into a genuine contest. Wales were now getting further up the pitch with Moore holding the ball up well. Wing-backs Connor Roberts and Nico Williams were able to get forward, Harry Wilson and Aaron Ramsay became more involved, Ethan Ampadu was combative in midfield, and Bale looked lively but was well policed by the USA backline.  Ben Davies and Moore both came close to equalising within quick succession and Greg Berhalter´s side, so composed in the first half, looked rattled.

Then with nine minutes left, a pull-back from Ramsay saw Bale cleverly move across Walker Zimmerman, who duly took him out to concede the penalty. win a penalty. Bale took the spot-kick himself whipping the ball past Matt Turner. Wales finished the game strongly, and their second-half display will give them confidence going into the remaining two group games, knowing that victory over Iran on Friday would give them a great chance of reaching the second round.

Wales will return to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Friday to face Iran in their second group game at 10.00.


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