World Cup - Group B PreviewThe World Cup is always incredibly special. It's even more special as we have more than one home nation in the World Cup for the first time since 1998. To really put the cherry on top of the cake, both sides are in the same group. England & Wales are both in Group B along with Iran and USA. There is absolutely no better place to watch the World Cup in this country than with We Love Sport. With that, be sure to get your seat at your local WLS venue for England v Iran to get the tournament underway!
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Rivalries galoreGroup B is a fascinating group as there are rivalries all across the board which makes the group even more tense. We have England & Wales, an obvious geographical rivalry, England & USA have a rivalry which is especially prevalent on social media. Finally, both England and USA have political tensions with Iran to make at least one rivalry for every side in the group. For us in the UK though, it is England vs Wales that grabs the attention.
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EnglandEngland have been an incredibly peculiar side under Gareth Southgate and they've been harder to read than their results may show. Under Southgate, the side have gotten to a World Cup semi-final and a European Championship final. On paper, that's a fantastic showing as its better than achieved in decades. However, both runs to the final have been against lowly ranked opposition and full of struggles over the line in games that should be dominated. There is no question of doubt that the England side is full of amazing attacking talent, but the act of going far in tournaments with 5 defenders and 2 holding midfielders is due to be found out at some point. A squad full of players such as Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham should be EXPECTING to get to the final by blowing sides away and not trickling over the line against Denmark and Colombia. But, looking at Southgate's squad, maybe he's finally pulling away from that 5.
[fixture id=9848 btn label="Book Now"]The huge news, which gives hope that England will take it to teams, is that James Maddison is in the England squad. The debate has raged on for months that he should be included, due to the fact only Harry Kane has more Premier League goals and assists than the Leicester man. Looking at the squad, you'd imagine if Southgate did play 4-3-3, then it is him joining Declan Rice & Jude Bellingham in the centre of midfield. With all this being said, the England players, particularly the forward line, are coming into the tournament in great shape and will be looking to build on what they have started. The ongoing debate about formation will rage on, but the aim and expectation is, and should be, to win the World Cup.
WalesThe Welsh team have qualified for their first World Cup since 1958, where they actually reached the quarter-finals and were knocked out by Pele's Brazil team. Despite the fact Wales have missed out on so many World Cups, they are not here by luck. Over the course of the last decade Gary Speed, Chris Coleman and Rob Page have built for this. They are here because they've earned it and their performances at EURO 2016 and EURO 2020 show that they are not here to just make up numbers.
[fixture id=9847 btn label="Book Now"]The Welsh team did need a playoff to get here because they finished second in their group, but there is absolutely no shame in finishing second to Belgium. The Welsh side has been in a little bit of disarray because of Ryan Giggs doing Ryan Giggs things again, but Rob Page stepped in and steadied the ship. Page's side defeated Ukraine to get to the World Cup this year, which didn't please most of the world! The squad did not throw up many surprises, other than 72-time-capped midfielder Joe Allen making the squad. The Swansea City player has been ever-present during the revival of Welsh football, but he has not played since September 17th. Talisman Gareth Bale is in the 26 man team, fresh off winning the MLS Cup with LAFC in what could be the players swansong from the sport. Aaron Ramsey makes the team after having a quiet spell at Nice.
[fixture id=10070 btn label="Book Now"]It's an interesting tournament for Wales, as it's not quite a crazy group of death, but USA are no joke and Iran have been criminally underrated. The first aim is to get out of the groups and considering its their first World Cup since 1958, everything else is a bonus.