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As Wales chase a historic World Cup victory on Friday, England are looking for three points to secure their place in the qualifying rounds.
And so Wales When they step onto the pitch for the critical Group B match against Iran on Friday (10:00 GMT on BBC One), they know that their first World Cup victory in 64 years will significantly help their chances of advancement.
Group B competitors and current leaders England they also want a win (19:00) against the USA, which will guarantee them a place in the last 16 if they can.
Schools cancel classes to cheer Wales up
The whole country will have their eyes set on Wales’ second group match – even what should have been in the classroom.
schools in Wales permission to cancel classes More than 1,000 schools are expected to attend the «Cymru Football Friday» event.
Instead of being in math classes, kids across the country will be hoping to see Gareth Bale beat teammate Chris Gunter as Wales’ most capped man in what could be the decisive match in Group B.
One point on the board and the leaders England are their last group rivals Wales, knowing that victory will be important if they want to get through the qualifying stages.
Captain Bale, who has made 109 appearances for Wales, said it was an «honour» to represent them as they approached a landmark appearance.
But it’s more important that we try to win.” “Hopefully we can and that makes it even more special.
«It will be a tough match against Iran – they are a very good team. There is a reason why they are here but of course we believe we can beat them.»
Can the UK finish the job early?
Pretty much the same from the UK?
That’s what many fans can hope to see after Gareth Southgate’s men got off to a strong start to the tournament by beating Iran 6-2 in the opening.
The USA is next, and England was backed after captain Harry Kane was revealed to be fit to play despite injury fears. involving a scan on the ankle.
As the only team in Group B to score three points so far, England know they will advance with a reserve game with a second win on Friday.
But is there more at stake? Southgate said on Thursday it was «a good period for English football» and that the nation was «regaining its dignity» on the football scene.
«A lot of positive things are happening at the junior level, at the senior level, in our women’s team.»
«We feel like we can be competitive in the coming years, and that’s the goal – to constantly struggle in the later stages of big competitions, and we haven’t done that in years.»
«These players are putting the country on the map and regaining our reputation on the world stage – we must continue to do that.»
‘Wales should take chances’ – analysis
BBC Sport Wales in Dafydd Pritchard, Doha
Bale and Page didn’t go so far as to say this, but Wales know that this match against Iran must essentially be won.
They were sadly below their pace against the USA in the first half but at least they have a point to build on thanks to Bale’s late penalty.
With group favorites England approaching on Tuesday – and the USA facing Iran on the same day – Wales don’t want to leave until the last game to claim their first World Cup win since 1958.
Thus, they find themselves in a similar position to the situation where Wales beat Turkey 2-0 to secure their progress to the second round despite a 1-0 draw after their 1-1 draw with Switzerland at Euro 2020 last year. They lost to Italy in the last group match.
The average Welsh would happily repeat if Wales meant reaching the last 16, even if England were less keen on emulating Italy and lifting the trophy.
Phil McNulty, BBC Sport’s chief football writer in Doha
England manager Gareth Southgate is happy with Kane’s fitness and made all the right noises about playing his captain from the start.
Southgate’s priority is to qualify for the knockout stage as quickly as possible and the win guarantees this by opening up the possibility of some squad rotation in the final match against Wales – but every member of England’s squad will be desperate to sort it out.
England’s 6-2 win over Iran has been contextualized by the embarrassment of Argentina and Germany, and early indications are that this could be a very clear World Cup.
Kane’s fitness is key to England’s plans, given his phenomenal record at this level, just three goals short of surpassing Wayne Rooney’s record of 53 and becoming his country’s record goalscorer.
And even though Kane wasn’t on the scoreboard against Iran, he was still a very influential figure, so the news that his foot was not seriously injured will be a huge relief for Southgate and England.
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