Who will start for England vs Wales? Gareth Southgate’s ‘leaked’ XI sees four changes made

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England will kick off their final World Cup group stage at 7pm tonight

England are preparing for a highly anticipated local derby this evening as they face Wales in their final group stage match of the 2022 World Cup. The Three Lions began their campaign in perfect fashion when they thrashed Iran 6-2 in last week’s opener, however they were unable to confirm their place in the knockouts as they were held to a 0-0 stalemate against USA on Friday.

Meanwhile, Wales have only managed a point so far and will have to beat England to have any chance of progressing to the round of 16. With only one win against their local rivals since 1980, their chances are looking slim.

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The England squad came under great criticism after their poor performance against the Americans, with Greg Berhalter’s side looking the more likely to score throughout the game. Three Lions Southgate also came under fire for his use of substitutions, with the 52-year-old opting to bring Jordan Henderson on for Jude Bellingham, as well as bringing off last Monday’s goalscorers in Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling.

There has been plenty of talk about the starting line-up vs Wales, with a number of changes expected as England look to confirm their place in the knockouts. As usual, the XI has been ‘leaked’ ahead of kick-off. Here is how the Three Lions are expected to line up...

How will England line up vs Wales?

Expected England XI vs Iran (4-3-3): Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham; Phil Foden, Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane.

Kyle Walker is set to be the only change to England’s defence, with Harry Maguire so far impressing despite his struggles with Manchester United. Kieran Trippier is yet to impress at right-back, while Walker has been building up his fitness after an injury.

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Jordan Henderson will take the place of Mason Mount in a three-man midfield, while Foden gets his first start after remaining on the bench throughout the USA clash. Marcus Rashford will also start alongside Foden and Harry Kane in attack. The Tottenham Hotspur striker had been tipped for a place on the bench as he looks to regain some fitness, however he looks to have been handed another start.

England vs Wales - head to head

England definitely have the advantage given their brilliant record against Wales, thrashing them 3-0 in their most recent meeting in October 2020. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Conor Coady and Danny Ings were the goalscorers - only one of whom (Coady) is in this winter’s World Cup squad.

Perhaps one of the most memorable meetings with the Welsh for England fans is their 2-1 win in Euro 2016. After Jamie Vardy’s second half goal ruled out Gareth Bale’s first, a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Daniel Sturridge sent Roy Hodgson’s side into a frenzy as they claimed their first victory of the tournament.

While Wales would have to beat England by four goals to knock the Three Lions out this evening, they have only put one past their opponents since 1983 - coming in Euro 2016 defeat. Their last win against them came in May 1984, with Mark Hughes scoring the only goal of the game.

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