Wales World Cup 2022 guide: Key players, injuries, tactics & tournament prediction

Gareth Bale is Wales' superstar option
Gareth Bale is Wales' superstar option / Briony Painter | 90min

Wales are returning to the World Cup after faling to qualify for 64 years, but aren't just heading to Qatar to make up the numbers.

Rob Page and his team pulled off two upsets to make it into the draw, beating Austria and Ukraine in the play-offs.

They were rewarded by being placed in a group with England, the United States and Iran, and will fancy their chances of making it out of it and into the knockout rounds.

Here's what to expect from Wales at the 2022 World Cup.

When are Wales' group games?

  • USA vs Wales (November 21, 19:00 GMT)
  • Wales vs Iran (November 25, 10:00 GMT)
  • Wales vs England (November 29, 19:00 GMT)
  • Wales vs USA H2H record: Played 1, Drawn 1
  • Wales vs Iran H2H record: Played 0
  • Wales vs England H2H record: Played 6, Lost 6

Who is in Wales' confirmed 26-player squad for the World Cup?

Goalkeepers: Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester), Adam Davies (Sheffield United)

Defenders: Ben Davies (Tottenham), Ben Cabango (Swansea), Tom Lockyer (Luton), 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), Matthew Smith (MK Dons), Dylan Levitt (Dundee United), Harry Wilson (Fulham), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth), Jonny Williams (Swindon), Aaron Ramsey (Nice), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff)

Forwards: Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth), Mark Harris (Cardiff), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Daniel James (Fulham)

Which Wales players are missing the World Cup through injury?

Sheffield United's Rhys Norrington-Davies would have almost certainly been on the plane to Qatar if not for a hamstring injury he picked up in October.

He's the only first-team player to miss out through injury, but Joe Allen is far from fit having not played since September due to a hamstring issue that he's still recovering from.

Who are Wales' best players?

Gareth Bale
Bale remains Wales' star man / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Gareth Bale

Though he's very much at the end of his playing career, Gareth Bale remains Wales' key player and is the ultimate player for the big occasion.

He may not have played much for LAFC since he jetted out to MLS, but Bale was still on hand to net a dramatic last-gasp equaliser against Philadelphia Union - a goal that turned the tide in their favour and eventually wound up in MLS Cup success.

Then there's the goals he's scored in Champions League finals and for Wales when get the drift,

Aaron Ramsey

It's been a disappointing few years for Aaron Ramsey at club level, but he's another player who always seems to find another gear when playing for Wales.

Now at aspiring Ligue 1 giants OGC Nice, Ramsey is looking to reestablish himself after disappointing spells at Juventus and Rangers, but heads to Qatar in good shape and, most importantly, injury free.

Joe Rodon

Like Ramsey, Joe Rodon is also plying his trade in France these days, after swapping the delights of the Premier League for Ligue 1.

He's been in and out of the Rennes team truth be told, but Rodon's enjoyed an impressive year on the international stage and is very, very capable on his day.

Neco Williams

Wales' system under Rob Page relies on energetic wing-backs who possess good ability on the ball. Fortunately, that's exactly what Neco Williams offers on either the right or left, depending on where he's needed most.

A regular Premier League starter at 21, his future looks to be bright at Nottingham Forest.

Wales predicted starting lineup

Wales' usual setup under page is a flexible 3-4-2-1 that can flip into a 5-2-2-1 or 5-4-1 when they are under the cosh.

They exploit the channels well and look to maximise the ability of their creatie players out wide. There's also an unbreakable team spirit and togetherness about the squad, galvanised by a passionate Welsh support that seems to extract that little bit more from their side on the big occasion.

Wales predicted XI: Hennessey; Ampadu, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, Allen, Ramsey, Williams; Bale, Moore, James.

Wales' form going into the World Cup

Wales were handed a tough Nations League group and finished bottom of it with just one point to their name.

There were some encouraging signs in the campaign, though. A point against regular foes Belgium was good, and only last-minute goals against the Netherlands - who admittedly were missing players - on two separate occasions denied them further draws.

Wales' last five results

Wales 1-2 Netherlands
Wales 1-1 Belgium
Netherlands 3-2 Wales
Belgium 2-1 Wales
Wales 0-1 Poland

Where will Wales finish in the World Cup?

This is a strong Wales squad, elevated by the fact that Page has found a system that gets the best out of them.

The same can't be said for the United States, who head to Qatar short of confidence, while Iran are the group's relatively unknown quality - they are ranked 20th in the world though and are certainly no pushovers.

The Bale X-factor could push the Welsh out of the groups, but that really does look like being the absolute best they can hope for with a rejuvenated Dutch likely to be waiting in the round of 16.

Prediction: Round of 16