After being absent for 64 years, Wales is back in the World Cup, most of it thanks to Gareth Bale. The Qualifiers proved to be tough, yet they still made it to the promised land via playoffs. This is probably the golden generation’s last chance to accomplish something truly big and if you consider the favorable group draw, it might just happen.
How do they play?
Wales has flexibility and diversity going for them. If they don’t succeed in one way, they are willing to try another. Gareth Bale is the perfect example – he can take on defenders, he can shoot from distance, and he can score from headers. Then you have Daniel James, who is just flat-out fast. And if they don’t provide the goods, you can always bet on the 1,96m tall Kieffer Moore to head it home from the box.
Why they can win?
The Welsh motto of “we will find a way” puts it best. It’s scary how good the team is at getting the maximum out of each player. Although Bale has been absent from top-tier football for a couple of years now, he has displayed strong performances for Wales, reminiscent of his glory days in Tottenham and Real Madrid. While Wales doesn’t have a star-studded line-up, they still made it to the Euro 2016 Semi-Finals and made it past the Euro 2020 Group Stage as well, ahead of Switzerland and Turkey.
Why they can lose?
Once you look past the magical aura that surrounds the team, you can easily find reasons for concern. Bale, whose goal was to gather momentum in the MLS, has not made the desired impact for Los Angeles FC. Midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allan are stuck with injuries.
The leading stars
Of course, Wales mainly relies on Bale, who has 40 goals in 108 international matches but is playing his last big tournament. The title of the best goal scorer for Wales will remain with him for years to come. If Wales hadn’t qualified for the World Cup via a play-off against Austria and Ukraine, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid superstar would likely have retired already. But Bale’s career deserved (at least) one entry to the World Cup, and now that time has come. What will he delight us with in his last dance?
The fresh faces
Brennan Johnson, the young attacking talent of Nottingham Forest, is quietly emerging from behind the team’s golden generation. In the 2021/22 season, he was chosen as the Young Player of the Year in the Championship, last year he was promoted to the Premier League together with Nottingham, and he has already managed to score several goals. It is likely that Johnson could be part of the starting line-up for Wales at the World Cup.