“A storm, a red storm, is coming to the gates of Qatar,” Michael Sheen promised as he gave a rousing speech to the Welsh national team ahead of their first World Cup appearance since 1958.
Emboldened by the “spirit of ’58”, Rob Page’s side produced a battling display upon their return to the grandest of spectacles in all of sports.
Their 1-1 draw with the USA offers Wales hope of progressing into the knockout stages. They have absolutely everything to play for and supporters will be dreaming of a Euro 2016-esque journey in Qatar.
The moment Welsh football supporters had been waiting 64 years for arrived on Monday night as they took on the United States in an evenly-matched contest on paper.
However, it was the USA that dominated proceedings in the first half and they took a deserved lead through Timothy Weah before the break.
The introduction of target man Kieffer Moore at half-time inspired Page’s men, who were superior for much of the second-half. Both Moore and Ben Davies came close to equalising before their previously quiet hero won and scored the subsequent penalty with ten minutes remaining.
Gareth Bale’s emphatic spot-kick sent an entire nation into raptures as Wales claimed a point on Matchday 1.
Wales will fancy their chances of taking down Iran on Matchday 2 after they were thumped 6-2 by England. While the Welsh lack the quality of Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions, they’ll feel that they’re more than capable of grabbing the victory they need on Friday 25 November.
A tough test then arrives in the form of England to round off the group. While they’ll undoubtedly be desperate to get one over their neighbours, Southgate’s side have started the tournament in ominous form.
Wales will want England to do them a favour on Matchday 2 against the USA. Should England win and they beat Iran, Wales will have a three-point cushion over the USA heading into the final group game.
Two victories will see Wales advance as Group B victors, while four points from their next two games will leave them in a great position to qualify. The USA would need to match that haul and boast a superior goal difference to pip the Welsh in that scenario.
Three draws may well be enough if England beat the USA and the latter draw with Iran on Matchday 3.
In what’s poised to be an incredibly tight group, Wales will know that just one victory might be enough to advance into the round of 16. Their Matchday 2 clash with Iran will be hugely significant in determining the make-up of Group B.
USMNT players apologize for World Cup elimination
US men’s national team players took to social media to apologize to fans following their elimination from the 2022 World Cup.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 edition of the tournament, the American side entered Qatar with high hopes. The team kicked off with draws against England and Wales, before triumphing 1-0 over Iran to make the knockout round as second place of Group B.
Gregg Berhalter’s side was forced to face the Netherlands on Saturday at Khalifa International Stadium for the highly anticipated match up. Despite an energetic start to the game, the USMNT ultimately lost 3-1, with goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries proving to be the difference between the two sides.
The Americans will now look forward to the 2026 World Cup where they will serve as hosts alongside Mexico and Canada.
France vs Poland: Confirmed lineups
In Sunday’s last-16 matchup at the Al-Thumama Stadium, Poland and France, the current champions, prepare for battle after both teams lost in their World Cup 2022 group stage campaigns.
Les Bleus completed first in Gathering D to endure to the knockout rounds, while Czeslaw Michniewicz’s men set up a bind with the holders subsequent to putting second in Gathering C.
Which World Cup team is the best at penalty shootouts?
Penalty shootouts and World Cups go hand in hand. Most sides practice their spot kicks for years on end in the build-up to the global tournament, but preparation can go out the window when crunch time comes.
While not certain – Spain and France have won the World Cup in recent memory without being involved in a shootout – the likelihood of teams needing to win at spot kicks to reach the final is large enough.
Here are the sides with the best penalty shootout records at men’s World Cups.
Argentina and Germany have the best records in penalty shootouts at the World Cup with four victories apiece.
Argentina have competed in the most WC shootouts – five in total – and have only lost one, back in the 2006 quarter finals when they were defeated 4-2 by Germany after misses from Daniel Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso. Germany themselves have a 100% record, winning all four of their shootouts.
While outfield players like Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthaus, Jose Serrizuela, Jorge Burruchaga and Maxi Rodriguez proved themselves to be excellent penalty takers with two scored each across different tournaments, both sides also needed brilliant goalkeepers.
Sergio Goycochea became an icon for Argentina in 1990, saving penalties in quarter-final and semi-final penalty shootout victories against Yugoslavia and Italy respectively. German legend Harald Schumacher was also on hand for his nation to save two penalty strikes in shootouts against France in 1982 and Mexico in 1986.
Best player scoring records in World Cup penalty shootouts
Taking a penalty at the World Cup is known to be a proper test of a player’s minerals. Some have wilted under the pressure, but a number of stars have stepped up and scored in different shootouts when it mattered.
Modern stars like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Arjen Robben are among those to have netted in separate penalty shootouts at the same World Cup.
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