Mission impossible? Wales face extremely narrow path to last 16 after England v USA draw
Wales face an extremely narrow path to the last 16 of the World Cup after England and USA drew in their group.
Following their 2-0 defeat against Iran, Wales will now need to beat England, rack up the goals and hope results elsewhere go their way.
A Wales win and USA-Iran draw would leave Wales, England and Iran on four points. Wales would then go through in second place as Wales and Iran are currently on the same goal difference of -2, and Wales would have added to their tally while Iran would not.
If Iran win they would go top and it would come down to goal difference between Wales and England for the second spot – a battle England would no doubt win after beating Iran 6-2 in the opening match giving them a +4 goal difference compared to Wales -2.
If the USA win, they would go top and it would again come down to goal difference between Wales and England for 2nd place.
Therefore, a Wales win by four goals would see them through whatever happens elsewhere.
Sports stats website 538 now give Wales only a 5% chance of making it out of the group.
Meanwhile, Iran have a 58% chance, USA 37% and England over 99%.
Wales could still technically top the group if they beat England by four goals or more and the USA v Iran game is a draw. But 538 offers a less than 1% of such an occurrence.
Boos greeted the final whistle as England blew their chance to qualify for the World Cup knockout phase with a match to spare in a turgid 0-0 draw with the United States.
Monday’s 6-2 thumping of Iran represented their best start to a major tournament, but Friday’s loose and lacklustre performance brought Gareth Southgate’s side back down to earth.
Meanwhile, Wales’ hopes of making the knockout stages of the World Cup were left hanging by a thread following a 2-0 defeat to Iran.
Substitute Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Rezaeian Ramin struck in stoppage time to secure only Iran’s third World Cup victory and one they fully merited at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha.
Wales captain Gareth Bale admitted that qualifying for the knockout stages of the World Cup “will be difficult” after the defeat.
“We fought till the end but it’s difficult when you go down to 10 men in the World Cup against good teams,” Bale added.
“We have to keep going and we have to pick ourselves up straight away. It will be difficult now, but we have to try to beat England – it’s as simple as that.”
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