FIFA World Cup: USA prepares for its first meeting

Published on: November 21, 2022, 12:13 p.m.

Last updated: November 21, 2022, 12:13 p.m.

The FIFA World Cup action continues today into the second day. In this group stage, Ecuador and England have already secured a win, and Team USA hopes to do the same today.

US Men's National Team
The US men’s national team stands on the soccer field. The team is now set to face Wales in the FIFA World Cup. (Image: Getty Images)

Gio Reyna, Joe Scally and Yunus Musah were 11 years old the last time the USA took the field in a World Cup game. That was in Brazil in 2014, and the Stars and Stripes now have a young squad with renewed drive.

Wales had an even longer drought. His last – and only – appearance was in 1958. The Dragons reached the semi-finals then and are looking for a new lease of life after a 64-year wait.

USA is back in the game

The Stars and Stripes team arrives at the World Cup after qualifying in the Concacaf qualifying round in third place in the final stage behind Canada and Mexico. In 2021, the team won the Gold Cup, while in 2019 they finished second.

In turn, the Dragons qualified for Qatar 2022 through the UEFA playoffs, where they defeated first Austria and then Ukraine. At Euro 2020 they had little success, reaching the last eight.

In a press conference on Sunday, United States National Team Technical Director Gregg Berhalter revealed that Tyler Adams will wear the captain’s badge for the team. The Leeds United midfielder is having one of the best years of his Premier League career, an undisputed starter with plenty to offer Team USA.

Adams replaces Christian Pulisic as the leader of this young team, whose members have zero experience in a tournament of this level. The only exception is DeAndre Yedlin, who was in Brazil for Team USA’s 2014 loss.

Wales are in a similar position but also have some ringers. At 33, striker Gareth Bale is one of the top scorers in football, with 39 goals in 106 games. He may be in a conflicted situation, now playing for the Wales national team but training regularly for Los Angeles FC.

The game starts shortly and the lines are tight. FanDuel has Team USA ahead by just a little bit, giving the team a +150 to +210 advantage. This should be a match to watch.

FIFA, Qatar are not making friends

As the FIFA World Cup kicked off in Qatar, both FIFA and the host nation were on a platform of inclusion. Turns out it was nothing more than empty hyperbole.

Teams from England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland initially pledged to wear armbands in support of the LGTBI community at the World Cup. However, they will no longer carry One love troops fearing possible FIFA sanctions.

FIFA called out the teams for the gesture, citing its rules that prevent any display of “political, religious or personal messages or slogans in any language or form on the uniform”. However, there is probably more to the decision than a framework of rules.

Qatar is very conservative and has made its stance against same-sex couples known. In the run-up to the World Cup, the country’s representatives referred to Qatar’s disdain for homosexuality and its criminalization. Sex between two Emirati men is punishable by up to seven years in prison, according to the US State Department.

Not even showing support for diversity is welcome. Grant Wahl, a soccer journalist, arrived today to watch the match between the USA and Wales, but was stopped by security.

They then escorted him to a private room for questioning, releasing him just half an hour later. That was just for the simple fact that he was wearing a shirt with a rainbow on it.

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