Wales’ hopes of making it to the knockout stages of the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar are hanging by a thread after their first two matches in Qatar.
Rob Page’s side suffered a crushing 2-0 defeat to Iran where Wayne Hennessey was red carded on 86 minutes and goals from Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian in the eighth and tenth minutes of stoppage time secured the win for the Middle East nation. Following their 1-1 draw with the USA earlier this week, it now leaves them on just one point after two matches. However, it could all come down to the final round of matches in Group B and there are still several circumstances that could see Wales reach the Last 16...
Can Wales still qualify for the World Cup 2022 knockout stages?
In short, yes. They can, but the opportunity to do so is now very much out of their own hands barring a huge victory over England. They have to win their final group stage game, that is non-negotiable, but even then it might not be enough.
It will likely all depend on the result of the other match in Group B where USA take on Iran. The important thing to remember is, unlike competitions such as the UEFA Champions League, the final group stage placings are decided by goal difference and not be head-to-head results.
How can Wales qualify for the knockout stage?
Once again, Wales have no route to qualifying that doesn’t involve them beating England in their final group stage match. Here is a quick breakdown of what Wales would need to happen in the final round of Group B matches:
- Wales beat England while USA and Iran draw - This is the most straightforward scenario that would see Wales reach the knockout stages. Iran and the USA have to draw, leaving Iran on four points and USA on three. Both Wales and Iran have a goal difference of -2 ahead of the matches so a win for Wales would improve that figure and put them second.
- Wales beat England by seven goals - This highly unlikely scenario would see Wales move above England in the final league table and is the only way they could guarantee a spot in the Last 16 and not have to worry about the USA vs Iran result.
If Wales fail to beat England then they are eliminated. If they beat England by less than seven goals and either Iran or USA win that match then they are eliminated.
World Cup 2022 Group B remaining fixtures
England take on the USA tonight (Friday, November 25) at 19:00 GMT and the final two matches of the group stages will be played next week. Both England vs Wales and Iran vs USA will kick off at the same time of 19:00 GMT to avoid any unfair advantages and will be played on Tuesday, November 29.
Here are the full details:
- Iran vs USA - Tuesday, November 29 (19:00 GMT) at Al Thumama Stadium
- Wales vs England - Tuesday, November 29 (19:00 GMT) at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium