The time has nearly arrived - Wales are participating in their first World Cup campaign since 1958. They have entered the qualifying rounds of each tournament since 1950, but this will mark just the second time that have reached the competition proper.
As fate would have it, they have been placed in the same draw as rivals England for their group stage along with the USA and Iran, and Wales will fight to reach further than they managed to over 60 years ago. Robert Page has had the best part of half a season’s worth of football from which to asses his players with many, such as Gareth Bale and Joe Allen, causing scares with their fitness.
Gareth Bale, Wales’s captain, was a huge concern for Page as only a few days ago the former Real Madrid forward was deemed ‘not 100% fit’. He has played only 327 minutes for Los Angeles FC since moving to the Major League Soccer in July, but scored in a penalty shoot-out against Philedelphia Union just last week. Speaking to Sky Sports, Page said: “I’m not really bothered how fit Gareth Bale is. He’s come off the back of scoring a really important goal for LA, he’s back in the country and he’s fit. Every time he turns up for us he’s always delivered, so I have no worries whatsoever.”
Wales’s first match will be against the USA on Monday 21 November with a UK kick-off time of 7pm scheduled. Here are the lucky 26 who will be competing in the Qatar World Cup 2022...
Who has made the 26-man squad?
Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest); Danny Ward (Leicester City); Adam Davies (Sheffield United)
Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham); Ben Cabango (Swansea City); Tom Lockyer (Luton Town); Joe Rodon (Rennes); Chris Mepham (Bournemouth); Ethan Ampadu (Spezia); Chris Gunter (AFC Wimbledon); Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest); Connor Roberts (Burnley)
Midfielders: Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield); Joe Allen (Swansea City); Matthew Smith (MK Dons); Dylan Levitt (Dundee United); Harry Wilson (Fulham); Joe Morrell (Portsmouth); Jonny Williams (Swindon Town) Aaron Ramsey (Nice); Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City)
Forwards: Gareth Bale (LAFC); Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth); Mark Harris (Cardiff City); Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest); Dan James (Fulham)
Who has missed out on place in squad?
Rhys Norrington-Davies and Tyler Robers have both been left out of Robert Page’s squad and the manager has admitted they were two of the toughest decision he had to make. The Sheffield United defender, Norrington-Davies has been hit with a series of hamstring difficulties while QPR’s Roberts has scored just one goal in 12 Championship appearances.
In his interview with Sky Sports, Page said: “I had to speak to Rhys Norrington-Davies and he was devastated because this injury that’s put him out is quite a long-term one, so I’ve just been there to support him. He’s going to miss out but that was taken out of my hands. Tyler was a difficult one because I know how much it means to him and he’s a great lad.”
The Rangers winger Rabbi Matondo also misses out on a place for his country. He has gailed to score in 17 appearances for the Scottish club since his move from Schalke this summer.