Sunday, August 7, 2022

Wales begin their dream of FIFA World Cup 2022 after qualifying for the first time in 64 years

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Last Sunday (5th June) was a very special day for Wales national football team as they secured their second FIFA World Cup qualification, the first time in 64 years.

No doubt, Wales national football team is now going through the best generation in their football history. After experiencing their first two UEFA Euro Cup tournaments in very recent times, the Dragons now have qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Wales
Image Credit: Twitter

Wales experienced their first World Cup campaign back in the 1958 edition in Sweden. It was a 16-team competition where the Dragons reached the Quarter-finals of that tournament before Brazil beat them (by 1-0) in the first knockout round of that tournament.   

Though the number of teams slowly raised in the future World Cups, Y Dreigiau always failed to reach the mark before the latest edition. Wales fought really hard, and they ultimately managed to seal their spot for the FIFA World Cup 2022, which will be the second World Cup experience for this country. They have to wait 64 years to see themselves in this most prestigious international football tournament.  

FIFA World Cup draw ban
credits – unb.com.bd

Qatar is ready to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 from 21st November to 18th December 2022. It will be the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup. A total of 32 teams, including the hosts Qatar, will fight for one World Cup trophy.

Story of Wales’ qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2022

Wales
Image Credit: Twitter

In the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA), Wales fought in a competitive Group E with Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Belarus. While Belgium (20 points) finished on top of the points table, the Dragons (15 points) just managed to earn the second spot after ending that group stage with one point more than the Czech Republic (14 points). They not only qualified for the second round of that qualification, which is also known as UEFA playoffs, they just managed to keep themselves in the seeded pot for the semi-final draws.   

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However, Y Dreigiau still could advance for the recently concluded UEFA playoffs even if they failed to finish among the top two teams in their Group E due to having a better 2020–21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking (the two teams who qualified for the unseeded pot for the semi-final draws through the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League overall ranking, both had lower rankings than the Dragons).

UEFA playoffs

In the UEFA playoffs semi-final for Path A, Wales hosted Austria and beat them by 2-1. Later, in the rescheduled playoffs final for Path A, the Dragons hosted Ukraine and defeated the visitors by a 1-0 margin. While the captain Gareth Bale scored both the goals in the playoffs semi-final, Andriy Yarmolenko’s headed own goal helped Y Dreigiau to win that playoffs final where Bale assisted with a free-kick.

Wales in FIFA World Cup 2022

Wales will now participate in the FIFA World Cup 2022. They will start this tournament from Group B, where England, Iran and United States will also compete with them.

The Dragons will begin their journey in the forthcoming WC with the match against the United States on the opening day of this tournament (21st November). Later, they will face Iran and England on 25th November and 29th November respectively.

The Dragons in recent competitions

bale

While Wales experienced their first-ever UEFA European Championship journey in the 2016 edition, they stunned everyone by reaching the semi-finals of that tournament. Ultimately, Portugal beat them in that semi-finals round. But before that defeat, Y Dreigiau beat Northern Ireland and Belgium in the knockout stages.

In UEFA Euro 2020, the Dragons once again advanced to the knockout stages before losing out to Denmark by 4-0 in the Round-of-16.

Meanwhile, in the ongoing 2022/23 UEFA Nations League, Wales are competing in League A after securing the promotion at the end of the previous season (2020/21).    

Chances for Y Dreigiau

In short, the Dragons’ recent records clearly suggest that they are capable of fighting in the big stages. Though they still need a huge improvement to compete strongly against the top-ranked football teams, they can’t be taken lightly by any teams.

Every team will have to start from zero in the FIFA World Cup 2022, as all the participating teams will have an equal chance to lift this prestigious trophy. Observing Group B, Wales have the ability to qualify for the Round of 16 as England, the United States and Iran are their competitors in this group. Though it will be a difficult task for the Dragons as England and the United States are favourites to advance to the knockout stages from this group, Gareth Bale and his teammates have already shown their desperate attitude towards the game.  

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