The United States are back at the World Cup, after agonisingly having to watch Russia 2018 from home.
Gregg Berhalter’s team finished third in the Octagonal round of CONCACAF qualifying, their three defeats all coming on the road.
Last year, USA lifted both the Nations League and the Gold Cup trophies, defeating Mexico in both finals, so are now ready to test themselves on the world stage.
However, since appearing in the quarter-finals in 2002, the Stars and Stripes have won just two World Cup games.
They beat Algeria in 2010 and Ghana in 2014, reaching the round of 16 both times, and that is the minimum expectation once more.
Wales meantime are participating at the World Cup for just the second time, 64 years after their first.
The Dragons’ extremely long wait for qualification finally came to an end earlier this year, ousting both Austria and Ukraine in the UEFA play-offs.
They do though have plenty of major tournament expirence from more recent times than 1958.
In 2016, Wales got all the way to the European Championships semi-finals, reaching the knockout rounds of the most-recent edition too.
So, Rob Page’s team will fear absolutely no one in Qatar, and too have their sights set on the round of 16.
Despite being a group opener, this could go along way to determining who advances, so will there be a winner at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium?
United States team news
The majority of Gregg Berhalter’s team is set in stone, although some spots are up for grabs.
Miles Robinson’s long-term injured means one centre-back place, alongside Walker Zimmerman, is up for grabs.
Despite the fact his last cap came in September 2021, Tim Ream looks set to start, chosen over Aaron Long or Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Sergiño Dest is a bit of an injury doubt, but should be ready to go at right-back.
Weston McKennie has missed Juventus’ last four games due to injury, but will be in the XI.
Jesús Ferreira is likely to lead the attack; Brendan Aaronson and Gio Reyna are set to be left in reserve.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Turner; Dest, Zimmerman, Ream, Robinson; Adams, McKennie, Musah; Weah, Ferrira, Pulisic.
Wales team news
Rob Page faces a conundrum in goal.
Danny Ward has made 15 appearances for Leicester this season, while Wayne Hennessey has played only twice for Nottingham Forest, both in the Carabao Cup.
However, as was the case in June’s play-off final, Hennessey’s expirence could see him given the nod.
Ahead of him will be a back five, featuring Connor Roberts wide right and Neco Williams over on the other side.
Joe Allen is Wales’ biggest injury doubt but, if fit, he’ll start.
If not, Joe Morrell is likely to get the nod alongside Aaron Ramsey, who’s started Nice’s last two games.
Dan James has started every single competitive international since his debut in March 2019, a streak that’s set to continue.
Talisman Gareth Bale, looking to add to his 40 international goals, and target-man Kieffer Moore will complete the attack.
Predicted XI (5-4-1): Hennessey; Roberts, Mepham, Rodon, Davies, Williams; Ramsey, Allen, Bale, James; Moore.