Verdict: England win
Best Odds: 1/2
In what is a real British battle on Tuesday night, England will meet Wales at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium for their final Group B showdown.
Starting with Wales, while Rob Page’s men might have opened their World Cup return with the mood in their camp at a red-hot high, the Dragons have failed to make any kind of impact in Qatar. Although the Reds might have managed to snatch a 1-1 draw against the USA last week as they got their Group B adventure underway, they certainly came crashing back down to earth a few days ago. Putting in a downbeat display and suffering last-gasp heartbreak against Iran as they eventually slumped to a 2-0 loss, Wales need a miracle if they’re to somehow find a route to the knockout stage. Enduring a real Nations League nightmare earlier in the year, Page’s men suddenly find themselves in the midst of an extended rut. Along with signing off their pre-World Cup preparations with a 1-0 loss against Wales in Poland, the Dragons have failed to win any of their previous seven appearances across all competitions.
Shown a straight red card against Iran in the dying moments last week, Wayne Hennessey will miss out here as he serves a suspension. Leicester’s Danny Ward will come in between the sticks and make a full World Cup debut on Tuesday night.
Coming off the bench in Wales’ 2-0 loss on Friday, Joe Allen could come into Page’s starting XI here. Despite coming under some scrutiny this month, the duo of Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are expected to retain their place.
As for England, while the Three Lions might have opened their World Cup adventure with a real statement last week, Gareth Southgate’s men came immediately crashing back down to earth. Putting in a downbeat display a few days ago and knowing that they were lucky to have picked up a 0-0 stalemate against the USA, the European giants do find some growing pressure on their shoulders. Although the Whites might sit firmly in pole position to punch their knockout stage ticket, they have shown some extended issues over recent months. In fact, despite signing off their pre-World Cup preparations with an action-packed 3-3 draw against Germany at Wembley, Southgate’s men have remarkably managed to win just one of their last eight appearances across all formats. Losing their elite Nations League status during September’s international break, England will be desperate to claim a much-needed boost here.
Controversially left on the bench throughout England’s 0-0 stalemate against the USA on Friday, Phil Foden could make his first World Cup start here. Likewise, fellow Manchester City star Jack Grealish will be hoping for a full recall.
Returning to training over the weekend, Leicester’s James Maddison should be included in Southgate’s matchday squad on Tuesday night. Despite still waiting for a first goal this winter, Harry Kane will lead the Three Lions’ charge.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides last faced off back in 2020 for a friendly showdown, England picked up a 3-0 victory at Wembley.
- Southgate’s men have won each of their last six meetings against Wales.
- However, England have recorded just a single win from any of their last eight matchups across all formats.
- Likewise, Wales have failed to win any of their previous seven appearances across all competitions.
- Page’s side are yet to bag a single strike from open play from their first two Group B showdowns.
Crashing back down to earth with a downbeat display against the USA on Friday, England will be desperate to prove that was just a minor blip. However, while the Three Lions might have claimed just a single win from any of their last eight matchups across all formats, they should be smelling a chance here. With Wales suffering last-gasp heartbreak at the hands of Iran over the weekend, Page’s squad should also be worried by their extended struggles against their British rivals. Including a 3-0 drumming when they made the trip to Wembley back in 2020, the Dragons have lost each of their last six meetings against England. While they might still have some work to do in midweek, we’re backing Southgate’s superstars to claim maximum points.
Verdict: England win
Best Odds: 1/2
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