World Cup

Walker Zimmerman eyes Harry Kane & Gareth Bale tests ahead at 2022 World Cup

Lizzy Becherano
 USMNT defender Walker Zimmerman reveals eagerness to face Gareth Bale and Harry Kane.
USMNT defender Walker Zimmerman reveals eagerness to face Gareth Bale and Harry Kane. / Brad Smith/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Wales are headed to the World Cup for the first time since 1958 - and they'll be in for a tasty series of tests as England, Iran and the United States await in Group B later this year.

The Dragons defeated Ukraine 1-0 in the World Cup European playoffs on June 5 to reach the tournament.

US Men’s National Team figure Walker Zimmerman has been speaking to 90min on the latest episode of the Football Americana podcast, and while insisting the team aren't worried about the draw, the defender is excited to test his skills against both Harry Kane and Gareth Bale - two world stars who will lead each of the UK's representatives at the tournament this winter.

"I think now that we know that Wales is our opponent, you got to throw Gareth Bale's name in the hat," he told host Yael Averbuch West. "I mean, these are two [Kane and Bale] guys that have been around for such a long time and playing at such a high level for so many years that it's going to be great to challenge yourself against players with that kind of quality.

“Those two especially since they play attacking positions and could possibly match up against them is going to be a fun challenge and one that I'm looking forward to.”

The United States and Wales will go head-to-head on November 21 at Al Rayyan Stadium to kick off their World Cup campaigns. The two nations have confronted each other twice before, both as international friendlies. The U.S. defeated Wales 2-0 in 2003, before drawing 0-0 in 2020. 

Zimmerman did not form part of the 2020 friendly between the two nations, but has since become a pillar for the United States. Given that the defender will likely be a starter for Gregg Berhalter’s side, Zimmerman admitted to visualizing the game to mentally prepare. 

Yael Averbuch West welcomed USMNT and Nashville SC Designated Player Walker Zimmerman for the latest episode of 90min's Football Americana. As the World Cup fast approaches, the defender revealed what's going on behind the scenes at recent USMNT camps - ahead of matches against Wales and England in Qatar. Zimmerman also spoke on the revolutionary CBA agreed upon by the US national teams and US Soccer, giving the USMNT’s side and perspective as the historic procedure went down. Subscribe to the series here.

“All the time. All the time. I'm already picturing a lot of different situations, both offensively, defensively, scoring goals, making game saving challenges, tackles. I mean, that's part of being a pro is that visualization piece, so I'm certainly doing that already.”

With five months left until the World Cup, the USMNT will see another round of friendlies in September to prepare.