Kick-off: 1900, 21/11/2022
Stadium: Al Rayyan Stadium
These two teams will be keen to make up for lost time when they arrive in Qatar, although Wales have much more to make up for than USA when they clash at the 2022 World Cup.
The Welsh are making only their second appearance on the biggest stage in football, and first since 1958, while USA are back after missing out four years ago.
Expect both sides to make avoiding defeat their priority as they feel their way into the tournament and, with that in mind, 2/1 for a draw is our first USA vs Wales prediction.
United States Odds
USA had been to seven World Cups on the bounce since 1990 so fluffing their lines on the road to Russia four years ago was a shock to the system.
During that run, they won just three of 10 qualifiers, with Jurgen Klinsmann departing as boss early in the round and his successor Bruce Arena following him out the door once the campaign was over.
Gregg Berhalter is the man in charge now and he steered them safely to Qatar, with seven wins from 14 enough under the new system to claim the final automatic CONCACAF spot behind Canada and Mexico.
They did boast an unbeaten home record and will also arrive in the Middle East as Gold Cup champions after lifting that trophy last summer.
It was the seventh time they took the crown and a pattern developed as Berhalter’s side played six games, winning five of them 1-0. They beat Martinique 6-1 and saw off Canada in the group and Mexico in the final.
Chelsea star Christian Pulisic is hoping a youthful squad will come of age in Qatar.
“We want to change the way that the world sees American soccer, that’s one of our goals,” he told the MLS website.
“I think we have to prove ourselves. We haven’t been maybe at the level of some of these world powerhouses in recent decades.
“We’ve had good teams with a lot of hearts and minds, but I think we can take it to that next step. With a successful World Cup, I think that can change a lot of things.”
A World Cup opener against a decent Wales side is set up to be a tight affair and USA vs Wales odds.
Gareth Bale ended more than 60 years of hurt for Wales when his deflected free-kick sealed an emotional victory over Ukraine.
Bale’s move to Los Angeles after leaving Real Madrid gave him the chance to spy on some American players!
The 33-year-old’s fitness has been a concern, having played just half an hour of football since completing his first 90 minutes for over a year in Wales’ Nations League defeat to Poland in September.
Bale revealed he had been troubled by a “slight issue” after coming off the bench to score a crucial late goal in his club’s MLS Cup final triumph over Philadelphia Union on November 5.
But he said ahead of this tournament: “I’m 100 per cent fit and ready to go. If I need to play three 90s, I’ll play three 90s.”
The talismanic forward added: “When you play in these big tournaments, it’s important to have the experience of doing so, and most of the squad have done that.
“It’s important to know what to expect. The games come thick and fast and they’re all difficult games, but we’ll prepare to get as far as we can.
“On paper, we have the hardest group in the World Cup (the only one with all four sides in the top 20 of the FIFA rankings) and we’re just doing the best planning possible to give us the best chance of winning.”
The Welsh made the play-offs by finishing second to Belgium and Roberto Martinez’s side were the only team to beat them in the group.
Rob Page guided the Dragons to four wins and three draws from eight games and took an impressive four points from two matches against the Czech Republic, their closest rivals for second spot.
Wales have since been relegated in the Nations League but were competitive throughout that tough pool, never losing by more than one goal against Netherlands, Belgium and Poland.
They will still be on a high when they kick off in Qatar and Page’s men to be winning at half-time and drawing at full-time at 27/2 completes our USA vs Wales betting tips.
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