World Cup 2022 Group B: Wales bank on experience of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey

The Dragons have qualified to the finals for the first time since 1958

Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates after winning the World Cup 2022 play-off final qualifier against Ukraine at the Cardiff City Stadium. AFP
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After waiting 64 years, a lifetime for many fans, Wales forged a monumental moment in history by qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Following a devastating loss to Denmark in the Round of 16 at Euro 2020, Wales went undefeated in World Cup qualifying, and a 1-0 victory against Ukraine, the neutral’s favourite, in the play-off final secured their place in Qatar.

However, they have not been in such great form since qualifying and are winless in three games in the Nations League. A contingent of Welsh players completed transfers this summer to secure more game time ahead of the World Cup.

Aaron Ramsey joined Nice following his Juventus release, while Daniel James swapped Leeds for Fulham in the Premier League. Youngsters Ethan Ampadu moved from Chelsea and Manchester United’s Dylan Levitt joined Spezia and Dundee United, respectively, in search of first-team football.

Captain and talisman Gareth Bale moved from Real Madrid to Los Angeles this summer with Qatar in mind, with the desire to lead his country at the World Cup.

Wales will hope that their all-time top goal scorer, who is also set to surpass Chris Gunter for the record number of appearances, will be in top scoring form in Qatar as the ex-Real Madrid star is no stranger to providing crucial goals in crunch matches.

Robert Page became caretaker boss when Ryan Giggs was arrested in November 2020, but now the former Northampton Town manager will be the first Wales manager to lead the country into two major tournaments.

And, in continuation of the legacy of Gary Speed, Page will look to the experience of Bale and Ramsey to lead an exciting crop of young players, such as Nottingham Forest’s Neco Williams and Brennan Johnson.

In their only other World Cup appearance, Wales reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out by eventual winners Brazil. However, for many Welsh fans Qatar looks to be a good time rather than a long time, particularly in anticipation of an upset against rivals England in their final game of the group stages.

Manager: Robert Page

Star player: Gareth Bale

One to watch: Brennan Johnson

World Cup finals appeared in: 1958

Fixtures: Nov 21 - USA v Wales; Nov 25 - Wales v Iran; Nov 29 - Wales v England

Updated: September 28, 2022, 9:02 AM
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