For their first game of the world cup, the United States played Wales. This was the second game for Group B. England played Iran earlier in the day. Kickoff was at 11am PST. The game took place at Ahamad Bin Ali Stadium. This was the United States first World Cup game since 2018. This was Wales first world cup game since 1958.
United States Preview | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
United States VS Wales Preview | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Both teams looked fairly even on paper. Both teams are close in the FIFA rankings. I was expecting a close match. Constancy was one of my big points heading into the match. The United States does struggle to play consistently. The main thing I thought would be the key in this match was who would work harder. In close matches, it is all about outworking your opponent. Loose balls, 50/50 balls, recovering the ball after a shot, were all things that I thought were going to determine the outcome.
The United States had a fairly dominant first half. They had a lot of time in possession of the ball. They should have taken more chances. They should have rushed more. At times it seemed like they preferred to keep possession instead of trying to catch wales off guard. The officials also established early that the game was going to be called poorly and inconsistently throughout. There were bad calls on both sides of the ball for the whole game. I also don’t think it was a good idea to have all officials for this game be from Qatar. Overall it was a really positive first half. The United States came away with a one-goal lead.
The United States goal was scored by Timothy Weah in the 36′ minute. After a good run by Christian Pulisic, he put the ball in the box. Timothy Weah then tapped the ball. It found its way through the goalkeeper and into the net. The United States got yellow cards in the 11′, and 13′ minutes. Wales got yellow cards at the 40′, and 45+2′ minutes.
In the second half, the United States was not as dominant with possession. They were not as tight with their positioning. It became a back-and-forth game. The longer the United States went without scoring, the more Wales was coming back into the game. As the game went on the officiating became less and less consistent. This led to the game becoming more and more aggressive. Multiple players on both sides left the game due to injuries. Multiple players on both sides were also upset with the officials.
There was a point where Christian Pulisic was taken down inside Wales box but no call was made. Late in the game, Wales was award a penalty kick. From what I saw the United States player got the ball first and it shouldn’t have been a call. Especially, if the other foul in the box on the other side of the pitch wasn’t called. The other argument that should be made is that the United States player shouldn’t have attempted to make a tackle in that area. The Wales player was not facing the net. The only thing the Wales player really could have done is set up one of their other players. The United States player panicked. Wales gets the foul. Wales scores on the penalty kick.
Ten minutes of extra time was added to the game. That whole time the United States attacked, while Wales wasted time. There were a lot of no-calls in extra time. I think a couple of the challenges should have penalty kicks or cards. In the end the game finished with a 1-1 draw.
It’s really frustrating. Not getting that second goal. Hoping for it. Hoping for it. Hoping for it and it never comes. Then Wales is awarded a penalty kick. It’s tough. The United States wasn’t just playing against Wales. They were playing against the officials two. I think that made it more challenging for both teams. There starts to become this idea of players not knowing what they are allowed to do or not do. It makes the game a lot harder to play when a player gets nailed and theres no stoppage or if two players go up for header and one of them gets a card. It shouldn’t be like this.
The United States walking away with a draw isn’t a good result but it is an ok result. With two more games to go, the United States can still make it out of the group stage. After seeing how Iran did today I am fairly confident that the United States will make it to the elimination stage. All the USA has to do is beat Iran. While I hate to say it, we don’t have to worry about the result of the England game as long as we beat Iran. Anyway you look at it thats pretty much how it is. Right now I’m just trying to be upset at the game. We had it and we let it go.
The United States needs to take more shots. The United States did well on possession and pass accuracy. I feel like there were a lot of fouls in this game. I think four yellow cards is a lot for the United States in a single game. Surprisingly no red cards in this game. The game did get pretty aggressive. The United States did get a few corners. I think they need to do better on their set pieces. They did really well in the first half getting the ball back after a set piece. They did good from there to not allow Wales to get the ball or counter. I think they need to create more counters off of their initial set pieces. Again this not the position we want to be in. This is a good starting point.
United States VS England
Game #: Group stage game two | Group B match three
Date: Friday, November 25, 2022
Time: 11:00am (PST)
Location: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar