Wales v England Prediction
29th November 2022
22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT
Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Wales vs England Prediction Match Overview
Wales vs England in the third round of matches in Group B presents a unique situation in which two domestic rivals go head-to-head. The Welsh know that nothing less than a win is required for them to even gain the possibility of qualification, whereas the English will be aware that an Iranian victory and failure to win here would see them fail to top the group.
While it’s true that Wales were undone by two very late goals against Iran, truthfully they were a distant second-best from the outset of the second half onwards and Iran were desperately unlucky to score beforehand. They’ll know that a significant improvement is required to earn a positive result here. England for their part will be hugely disappointed with their collective performance in their 0-0 draw with USA, and are fortunate perhaps that they were far more impressive against Iran in their group opener. England were toothless in attack against the Americans and arguably could consider themselves fortunate to escape with a draw.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play:
Will not play: Hennessey (Wales)
Wales vs England Prediction Analysis
Wales may have suffered at the hands of the Iranians on the counterattack, but for this encounter we expect the Welsh to cede possession to the English and rely on counterattacks and set pieces to generate their own attacking threat. This is completely understandable as Wales are required to win this game, and therefore given that it’s unlikely that they will be able to breach the English back line multiple times they are going to need to keep things as tight as possible at the back and play for set pieces. If they find themselves with a favourable opportunity to break, they will need to do it quickly to get in behind the English and to take advantage of what could be perceived as a general lack of pace in the English back line.
It stands to reason that England’s task is clear – generate clearer opportunities via a more fluid, cohesive attack. They had far more success in this regard in their group opener against Iran, though how much of that was the Iranians faltering under the bright lights of their World Cup opener, we can’t really say. The fact of the matter is that England failed to create much of anything against the Americans last time out and their chief creative influence Harry Kane was surely having to come far too deep at times to get on the ball. We believe this necessitates a change in the England midfield/attack, and it would seem prudent to call upon the talents of Phil Foden for either Raheem Sterling or Mason Mount.
Keeping England’s Fullbacks Quiet
Neither Kieran Trippier nor Luke Shaw covered themselves in glory last time out, though it has to be said that Trippier in particular was unable to play his usual game, possibly due to Antonee Robinson’s excellent performance which kept him occupied defensively. Wales may view these areas as potentially profitable if they can provide some sort of threat of their own through Neco Williams and Connor Roberts. Wales normally operate with a spare man at the back and adequate cover must be provided to allow for Wales to make these forays forward without being exposed.
England will perhaps look to their opening game as evidence that Shaw and Trippier in a back four is the correct pairing, but will also be mindful that they have an attacking weapon in Alexander-Arnold on the bench, should they find themselves in a situation where they are chasing a goal. Arsenal’s Ben White is also a reliable option should Southgate wish to make a few changes with one eye on the knockout rounds should the English find themselves in a favourable position.
Wales look like a more cohensive unit with Bournemouth’s Kieffer Moore in there to unsettle the opposition, make the ball stick on the counter and generally provide a combative presence combined with an obvious aerial threat. The Welsh will need to counter quickly and with accuracy so it’s the ability to have others play off Moore which will be highly prized here. They may turn to Dan James and his renowned pace instead of Wilson because of their counter-attacking setup.
England are almost certain to stick with Kane and Bukayo Saka, but may opt to play Phil Foden here to facilitate playing Kane higher up the pitch. England sorely lacked a goalscoring threat in their dour 0-0 draw with the USA and though Kane will not be discouraged from dropping deep and looking to create for others, it can’t be conducive to England’s attacking play to have the Spurs man playing in and around the half-way line quite so much.
Wales Key Players
Coming in for the suspended Wayne Hennessey, this game represents a huge moment in Ward’s career and Wales could need a big game from the Leicester City man. England will be looking to put this game to bed early and we can expect the Welsh defence to put under significant pressure at times – therefore, they’ll need Ward to come in and show why club manager Brendan Rodgers has kept faith in him following the departure of Kasper Schmeichel.
It’s vital that Wales have a reliable attacking outlet who can hold the ball up when required as they’re going to need to make the right decisions and be precise with their counterattacking opportunities, and Moore has regularly demonstrated that on occasion he can perform this role exceptionally well for both club and country. Moore also offers a significant physical presence in addition to a pronounced aerial threat, which could prove crucial as the Welsh will also understand the necessity of creating chances via set pieces in this game.
England Key Players
We’re going to be brave here and state that Phil Foden will be a key player here, despite only playing for 21 minutes against Iran and not seeing the pitch at all in England’s encounter with the Americans. England didn’t create enough with Kane forced far too deep to be effective, and this is because England lacked Foden’s ability to play between the lines, carry the ball and play in others while bursting forward. Foden also carries a significant goal threat of his own, and England fans will be keen to see the Manchester City man in action.
Wales’ best chance for success in this game is to play on the counter, and England will need to break them up as quickly as possible. Therefore, Rice as England’s more defensive midfielder will have to be positionally aware and able to stop the Welsh from playing the ball in behind or from getting the ball through to Kieffer Moore. Rice will also be important as an out-ball to recycle possession for the English as they pick their passes and probe the Welsh defence for the right opportunities.
Wales vs England Prediction
Wales will do their utmost to threaten from counterattacking and set piece opportunities, however, we don’t feel that the Welsh can throw anything at the English that they’re unprepared to deal with. England will want to get through the game as comfortably as possible and preferably unscathed, so we expect them to attempt to gain the upper hand quickly here and then provide some of their bench options with valuable playing time late on.