Decisive week for Cymru in FIFA World Cup standings
10 November 2021

Decisive week for Cymru in FIFA World Cup standings

Cymru return to the Cardiff City Stadium for the final two Group E fixtures in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying with the results against Belarus (13 November) and Belgium (16 November) set to determine the group standings and confirm the play-off situation.

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Rob Page’s side currently sit level on points with the Czech Republic but have a game in hand over the side holding second position on goal difference behind leaders Belgium. The Czech Republic play their final game against Estonia on 16 November, with Cymru requiring a minimum return of four points to guarantee the runners-up position. Belgium take on Estonia on 13 September and could book their place at the finals with a positive result before heading to Cardiff. 

Gareth Bale was the hat-trick hero when Cymru played Belarus in Kazan back in September as the side claimed a 3-2 victory, and the captain is set to make his 100th appearance for his country during this international window. Despite missing a number of recent games for Real Madrid through injury, Page is confident that the team talisman will be available for the upcoming fixtures. 

“I have a plan in my head already for Gareth,” said Page when announcing his squad. “Gareth is in a good place. He’s raring to go and doing everything possible to get himself 100% fit. He’s where we want him to be. He’s not in full training, but he’s back on the grass. He will absolutely be considered for starting games. How many minutes he can play we will see, but we will have to assess it as we go.”

Meanwhile, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has also spoken positively in the press recently about Bale’s fitness. “I don’t think either Wales or the player will take the risk of playing if he’s not right. He’s been cleared to play because if he trains with the team it means he’s fully fit. He had a scan where he had fully recovered, and then the national team has to evaluate whether he can play or not.”

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey has also been included in the squad despite limited game time with Juventus in recent weeks, but Dylan Levitt and Ben Cabango have both withdrawn through injury and personal reasons respectively. But while Cymru are targeting second place for a preferred home draw in the play-offs that will take place in March, success in the last edition of the UEFA Nations League means that the side have a second chance should the Czech Republic edge the runners-up position in the final round of games.  

Belgium could have already guaranteed their place at the finals that will take place in Qatar next winter by the time they head to Cardiff, and while Roberto Martinez’s side remain a formidable opponent, they will be without the services of star striker Romelu Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld and Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans who have been ruled out of the squad through injury. In addition, Cymru boast an impressive record against the Red Devils with some defining victories. 

It was back in 2015 that Cymru took a significant step towards qualification for EURO 2016 as Bale scored the only goal for Chris Coleman’s side against Belgium in Cardiff. But the best was to come when the two teams met once again in at the quarter-final stage of tournament, as goals from Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes sealed a famous 3-1 win to take the side into the last four.

Groups & Standings  European Qualifiers