Wales midfielder Harry Wilson is expecting to face a determined Iran side desperate to respond to their opening-game thrashing when the Group B rivals meet on Friday.

Iran began their World Cup campaign with a 6-2 loss at the hands of England, though only once in six participations – at Germany 2006 – have they lost their first two matches.

A late Gareth Bale penalty earned Wales a 1-1 draw against the United States in their opening match and a first win at the World Cup since 1958 will now be the target against Iran.

But midfielder Wilson, who played a full part against the USA, is expecting Iran to put up far more of a fight at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium than they did against England.

"It was a difficult result for them. England was always going to be difficult," Wilson said. "They will be looking for a reaction and I think that is what we are going to see.

"It will be up to us to make sure we are on form to try and get the three points."

Bale won the penalty in which he converted against the USA and now has 41 goals in 109 caps for his country – only team-mate Chris Gunter has played as many times.

"He drags us through tough games and got his goal," Wilson said. "His performances over the years, I think he deserves to play at the World Cup before he retires."


Following their heavy loss to England, Iran have now lost seven and drawn two of their nine meetings with European teams in the tournament, conceding 20 goals.

Anything other than victory against Wales will leave Carlos Queiroz's facing an early exit from Qatar 2022, but the former Manchester United assistant has faith in his players.

"My view [of the England game] is simple and very pragmatic: the game finished in the first half when we conceded the goals we are not used to conceding," he said.

"Being 3-0 down, the only goal for our team was to enjoy the game and to be brave, united and fight to try to play our football in moments England allowed us to do so.

"What I can say as a conclusion is we win or learn. We had the privilege to learn a lot of things against England and we are much better prepared now to play against Wales."

Friday's contest will be just the second ever between the sides, with Wales – ranked one place higher than Iran in the FIFA rankings – winning 1-0 in a friendly 44 years ago.


Wales - Kieffer Moore

Bale may have been the hero against the USA, but it was the introduction of Moore at half-time that changed the contest, providing Wales with a focal point in the final third.

Moore was a menace during his time on the pitch, as he was throughout the qualifying campaign, and will surely now start this crucial showdown with Iran.

Despite only playing 45 minutes, Moore was involved in more shots (four, taking three himself) against the USA than any Wales team-mate and also had at least two more touches in the opposition box.

Iran - Mehdi Taremi

Taremi's performance was a rare shining light for Iran in their defeat to England, with the Porto striker scoring a couple of goals.

That made Taremi the first Iran player to score multiple goals at a World Cup, and also the first player from an Asian country to net twice in a single game in the competition.

The 30-year-old is a certainty to lead the line against Wales, but Queiroz will hope for more from his supporting cast, such as Vahid Amiri and Alireza Jahanbakhsh.


Four of Wales' six games at the World Cup have been drawn (67 per cent), with no side having a higher ratio of their games finishing level in the competition's history.

Stats Perform's supercomputer prediction model has this match down as a 27.6 per cent likelihood of that happening, marginally ahead of the 23.2 chance Iran have of winning.

A Wales win – something they have not achieved in their past six matches – is predicted as the most likely outcome at 49.4 per cent.

Wales football chiefs are demanding answers from FIFA after fans were told to remove and discard rainbow-coloured hats before going into the World Cup game against the United States.

The Wales team's LGBTQ+ supporters group, known as the Rainbow Wall, has representation in Qatar, and its bucket hats were being worn by a number of fans arriving at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Monday.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said it had played a part in the Rainbow Wall bucket hats being created and was "extremely disappointed" female fans were instructed to give up the items.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the FAW said: "The FAW has collated information on these alleged incidents and will be addressing this matter directly with FIFA today."

Former Wales footballer Laura McAllister was among those affected and told the BBC the security was "pretty heavy-handed", although she "snuck" her hat into the stadium.

The FAW has itself faced criticism from the Rainbow Wall group after backing down in the face of FIFA opposition to captain Gareth Bale wearing a 'OneLove' armband during the USA game.

Fearing Bale might be yellow-carded for wearing the armband, which would have been in defiance of instruction from tournament organisers, Wales opted against taking the planned stance.

The 'OneLove' gesture in Qatar was intended as a show of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, in a country where same-sex sexual activity is criminalised.

Wales were among seven European teams that had planned to field their captain in the armband before jointly electing not to do so after being made aware of possible ramifications from world governing body FIFA.

The Rainbow Wall group said that "a huge opportunity had been missed for the FAW to send a message of solidarity inclusion; not only for LGBTIQ+ people in Wales, but also for LGBTIQ+ people in Qatar who face criminalisation, surveillance, violence and fear in their own country".

In a statement, the group added: "Later in the day we were appalled to see Rainbow Wall bucket hats confiscated by security from female fans as they entered the stadium for the USA v Wales game.

"Allyship sometimes means having uncomfortable conversations and standing up for what you believe in. We hope the FAW will be able to make an alternative and meaningful show of solidarity for LGBTIQ+ people over the coming weeks in Qatar."

Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams believe the United States have every chance of beating England, with their confidence having not taken a hit in Monday's draw with Wales.

Pulisic supplied the assist for Timothy Weah's deserved opener at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium but the USA were unable to hold on in their opening World Cup game.

Walker Zimmerman's clumsy tackle on Gareth Bale handed Wales' talisman a chance he duly took, lashing home from 12 yards to send the large Welsh contingent behind the goal into raptures.

While Wales were able to celebrate snatching a point from what was their first World Cup game since 1958, the USA were left to lament not making the most of a bright first half.

The USA's expected goals (xG) of 0.66 far exceeded Wales' 0.17 in the first half, albeit they only had three attempts, despite having 66.7 per cent possession.

Pulisic, however, is confident that the USA can match England, who beat Iran 6-2 earlier on Monday, in their next Group B game on Friday.

"Absolutely. I think we have a good enough team to make it out of this group," he told reporters.

"England is our next test, we've got to be aggressive and go to win the game."

It was a sentiment echoed by captain Adams, who said: "Yeah, I think we match up well against them.

"Football is a game of inches, it comes down to mistakes or minimal details. We're obviously going to try and execute our game plan.

"We trust in the coach's ability to set us up well, but they're very flexible as well. At the end of the day it comes down to certain moments."

Head coach Gregg Berhalter fielded the USA's youngest team in a World Cup match since 1990, and Pulisic acknowledged there were nerves among the squad, with the nation having failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

"The nerves were there, we were all excited, but now we have to take this experience into the next one," Pulisic said.

"There's a lot of positives from the game in general. The team looks good. Now we have to figure out how to put that together for 90 minutes.

"A point in the first game is better than none. We have to move on, learn from this, it's a lot from our first game.

"I want to win. I'm very competitive. I love this team so much, I'm honoured to play in a World Cup for my country so the least I can do is give it all that I have."

Wales manager Rob Page was relieved to gain an "important point" in their World Cup opener against the United States, and praised Gareth Bale's intelligence in winning a second-half penalty.

The United States took a deserved first-half lead through Timothy Weah, though an improved Welsh side came back in the second and equalised via Bale's 82nd-minute spot kick.

The 1-1 draw leaves both two points behind England after the first games in Group B in Qatar after the Three Lions beat Iran 6-2 earlier on Monday, but Page was happy enough with a point and suggested his team were the ones who could have won it late on.

"It was a really important point for us," he told reporters at his post-match press conference. "I thought for the last 10 minutes if anybody was going to go on to get the winner it was going to be us as well."

Bale's penalty made him just the fourth player to score a World Cup goal for Wales after John Charles, Ivor Allchurch (two) and Terry Medwin, all in their 1958 campaign.

The Los Angeles FC forward had an otherwise quiet game, but once again stepped up when his country needed him, winning the penalty when he got across USA defender Walker Zimmerman and drew the foul.

"We've sort of evolved Gareth's position, put it that way," Page explained about his star player. "He can still play out wide, of course he can, but I like to give him the freedom to come inside and play off a frontman.

"He's very good at finding those spaces, he's intelligent, he's got a wise head, so he puts himself in those positions in the box to be able to get us penalties, and defenders commit to making tackles, and if they don't get their timing right in the box, inevitably it's a penalty." 

Welsh full-back Neco Williams played 79 minutes at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium and was visibly emotional at full-time, later revealing he had only found out last night that his grandad had passed away.

Williams posted on Twitter after the game: "Yesterday was the toughest news I've ever had to face and that was listening to my mum tell me my grandad past away last night.

"To go from crying all day to start in a World Cup game was extremely tough but I got through it from the support of my team-mates and family."

Wales face Iran in their second Group B game on Friday.

Gareth Bale says it is "incredible" to be a World Cup goalscorer but admits he would trade his strike for three points after earning a late 1-1 draw against the United States.

The Wales captain rescued a point for his side with his 82nd-minute penalty after he was fouled by Walker Zimmerman, cancelling out Timothy Weah's first-half opener in Qatar.

It meant the spoils were shared at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, with Rob Page's side picking up a point in their first World Cup match since 1958, to sit joint-second in Group B.

Speaking afterwards, Bale – who now has 41 goals in 109 appearances for his country – acknowledged he was always going to take the crucial spot-kick, but says he would have rather not scored and still won.

"[It was] always me," he told ITV Sport on penalty duties. "[I had] no doubts in my head. I feel like I have to step up, and I'm happy to do so.

"[It is] incredible. But I'd rather have had the three points, to be honest. [It was] not a good first half. They played really well and we were poor.

"But a great talk by the manager at half-time changed a few things around and the boys came out fighting, like we always do. It showed character, we will go again."

Having struggled with fitness issues over the past year, including limited game-time at club level with Los Angeles FC, there were question marks over how much involvement Bale would have against the USA.

But the former Real Madrid forward played the full match, including a lengthy helping of additional time in the second half, which left him bemused.

"I was a little bit tired towards the end," he added. "I can't believe it was nine minutes added on – I don't know where that came from. But we have to dig deep for our country."

Wales next play Iran on November 25 before wrapping up their Group B campaign against England four days later.

Wales had talisman Gareth Bale to thank once again as their captain won and scored a penalty to salvage a 1-1 draw with the United States at the World Cup.

The USA bossed the first half of Monday's encounter at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, but Bale – Wales' record goalscorer and leading marksman in major tournaments – stepped up when it mattered to ensure the Dragons' first World Cup match since 1958 did not end in defeat.

Timothy Weah had put the USA deservedly ahead in the first half, scoring in a World Cup when his illustrious father – 1995 Ballon d'Or winner George – was never able to play in one.

But Bale, largely anonymous before his late show, drew a rash tackle from Walker Zimmerman and duly smashed home the resulting spot-kick to seal a share of the spoils in Group B.

The USA should have been rewarded for a strong start inside 10 minutes as Josh Sargent hit the post with a close-range header after Wayne Hennessey had spared Joe Rodon's blushes, preventing an own goal.

But Wales caved to the pressure in the 36th minute. On a quick counter-attack, Christian Pulisic brilliantly found Weah, who coolly prodded past Hennessey.

Kieffer Moore's introduction in place of Daniel James was the catalyst for Wales’ improvement.

Ben Davies forced Matt Turner into a fine save with a diving header, with Moore heading over from the resulting corner.

With Brenden Aaronson fluffing his lines at the other end, Wales got their lifeline when Zimmerman clumsily lunged in on Bale, who – with eight minutes remaining – lashed home an unstoppable spot-kick into the right-hand corner, giving the huge mass of Wales fans behind the goal a moment to savour.

Yunus Musah became the first teenager to be named in the United States' starting lineup for a World Cup match ahead of their Group B opener against Wales on Monday.

Having missed out on qualification for the tournament in Russia four years ago, Gregg Berhalter's side marked their return to the finals at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium, against a Wales side featuring at just their second World Cup.

Musah, who also made his senior international debut against Wales in 2020, is now the youngest player to start a World Cup match for the USA, aged 19 years and 358 days.

The Valencia midfielder also becomes the first LaLiga-based player to represent the Stars and Stripes at the finals, while 10 of the starting XI play their club football in Europe - the team's highest total in a World Cup lineup.

Musah was selected to partner Tyler Adams in midfield, with the Leeds United man – aged 23 years and 279 days – becoming the USA's youngest World Cup captain since Harry Keough in 1950.

Berhalter, who becomes the first person to represent the Stars and Stripes at the World Cup as a player and coach, began with Matt Turner in goal behind a back four of Sergino Dest, Walker Zimmerman, Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson.

Adams and Musah were selected to anchor the midfield behind Timothy Weah, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic, with Josh Sargent starting as a lone striker.

Meanwhile, Gareth Bale – at least temporarily – drew level with Chris Gunter's record of 109 Wales caps, with the full-back being named on the bench by Rob Page.

Wayne Hennessey was preferred to Danny Ward in goal behind a back three of Chris Mepham, Joe Rodon and Ben Davies.

Connor Roberts, Ethan Ampadu, Aaron Ramsey, Harry Wilson and Neco Williams comprised a five-man midfield, with Dan James providing support to Bale in attack.

England and six other nations have confirmed their players will not wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup.

The move comes after FIFA threatened to book captains if they broke regulations and made their own statements on social issues, rather than following guidelines from the game’s governing body.

OneLove, which promotes "inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind", has grown in significance in the build-up to the tournament in Qatar, a country in which homosexuality is illegal.

But, following extensive discussions between FIFA and an alliance of football associations – England, Wales, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands – the armband will now not be worn.

A joint statement read: "FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.

"As national federations, we can't put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.

"We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.

"We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response.

"Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways."

England open their World Cup campaign against Iran later on Monday.

In a separate statement, the Dutch FA (KNVB) – the OneLove campaign originated in the Netherlands - expressed its anger and disappointment at FIFA's stance.

It read: "The KNVB and the players of the Dutch national team would like to convey a positive message with OneLove and against all forms of discrimination.

"We wanted to do that at the World Cup together with England, Wales, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.

"The UEFA working group, of which the KNVB is part, asked FIFA on September 19 to embrace the OneLove captain's armband. Today, hours before the first match, FIFA has (officially) made it clear to 

us that the captain will receive a yellow card if he wears the OneLove captain's armband.

"We deeply regret that is has not been possible to reach a reasonable solution together.

"We stand with the OneLove message and continue to carry it out, but our first priority at the World Cup is to win matches. You don't want the captain to start the match by getting a yellow card. That is why we had to decide with pain in our hearts - as a UEFA working group, the KNVB and as a team – to abandon our plan.

"As previously announced, the KNVB would have paid a possible fine for wearing the OneLove captain's armband but that FIFA would punish us for this on the field was not expected.

"This goes against the spirit of our sport which connects millions of people. In the coming period, together with the other countries involved, we will take a critical look at our relationship with FIFA."

England and six other nations have confirmed their players will not wear the OneLove armband at the World Cup.

The move comes after FIFA threatened to book captains if they broke regulations and made their own statements on social issues, rather than following guidelines from the game’s governing body.

OneLove, which promotes "inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind", has grown in significance in the build-up to the tournament in Qatar, a country in which homosexuality is illegal.

But, following extensive discussions between FIFA and an alliance of football associations – England, Wales, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands – the armband will now not be worn.

A joint statement read: "FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play.

"As national federations, we can't put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games.

"We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked or even forced to leave the field of play.

"We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision which we believe is unprecedented – we wrote to FIFA in September informing them of our wish to wear the One Love armband to actively support inclusion in football, and had no response.

"Our players and coaches are disappointed – they are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways."

England open their World Cup campaign against Iran later on Monday.

President Joe Biden phoned the United States team in Qatar to urge Gregg Berhalter's players to "shock 'em all" at the World Cup.

Ahead of their opening game against Wales on Monday, the team gathered to listen to Biden offer words of encouragement to a group he acknowledged were outsiders.

The United States men's team took third place at the inaugural 1930 World Cup but have never gone further than the quarter-finals since, only reaching that stage once, in 2002.

By comparison, the US women's national team are four-time World Cup winners, and will be chasing a hat-trick of consecutive titles at next year's finals in Australia and New Zealand.

Biden, who turned 80 on Sunday, told Berhalter: "Coach, put me in, I'm ready to play."

He added: "You guys, I know you're the underdog, but I'll tell you what, man, you got some of the best players in the world on your team, and you're representing this country, and I know you're gonna play your hearts out, so let's go shock 'em all.

"Keep trusting in one another, play as hard as you can, for you and your families, your team-mates, and the whole country is rooting for you."

Berhalter replied: "That's a very nice message, Mr President, the whole team is here right now and we really appreciate your support and we're ready to go."

The United States also face England and Iran in Group B, returning to the World Cup stage after missing out on the Russia 2018 finals.

Biden added: "I wish I were there to see you, I really do, go get 'em guys, just play your hearts out. I know you will, I know you will."

Wales face United States in their first World Cup match in 64 years on Monday, yet manager Rob Page insists his side are not in Qatar to merely make up the numbers.

Not since 1958, when eliminated in the quarter-finals by a 17-year-old Pele, have Wales made it to the showpiece tournament – the longest ever gap between participations.

The Dragons have reached the past two European Championships, however, making it all the way to the semi-finals in 2016 and to the first knockout stage last year.

Page wrote his name in Welsh folklore by guiding his nation to a second ever World Cup, after taking over from Ryan Giggs, and he is targeting another famous tournament run. 

"Managers are greedy," he said. "We are grateful that we have got to this stage. But you look at the group and you start to look at the teams individually. 

"There is no disrespect to the other teams, but we have to go into the group with huge confidence that we can get out of the group, and we do."

Wales, who beat Austria and Ukraine in the play-offs to book their place in Qatar, are ranked 19th in the world – three places behind USA.

England (5) and Iran (20) are also in Group B, which is arguably the toughest to call on the face of it as the only pool with four top-20 countries.

USA boast far more World Cup experience than Wales, with this their 11th finals, though their first in eight years after failing to qualify for Russia 2018.

Indeed, only Mexico (17) have appeared at more World Cup among CONCACAF nations, and USA have reached the knockouts in three of their past four involvements.


Head coach Gregg Berhalter made some surprising squad selections, with Ricardo Pepi and Zack Steffen among those left out, but he intends to stay true to his style of play.

"There's a difference between qualifying in CONCACAF and playing in the World Cup", he said. "It's important that we represent our identity as a team. 

"It's not time to change who we are. We're an aggressive team, a high pressing team. We want to use the ball and we're going to find out if we can be successful doing it."

Berhalter, who will become the first person to represent USA at the World Cup as both a player and manager, also vowed not to take Wales lightly at Al Rayyan Stadium.

"I think at least to the American media, Wales is underrated. When I look at their squad, it's basically a Premier League squad," he said.

"To me, it's a really good squad, a formidable squad. They've been in international competition before, they know what it's like."

Monday's match will mark the third ever meeting between the sides, with USA unbeaten so far thanks to one win and a draw, both in friendlies.


USA - Giovanni Reyna

The USA have named the second-youngest squad of any side in Qatar, with an average age of 25 years and 215 days (as of the opening day of the tournament).

Borussia Dortmund attacker Reyna is one of those younger prospects looking to make an impact in his maiden World Cup as he looks to build on the four goals scored in his first 14 senior caps.

Reyna only turned 20 this month and could become the 14th player in USA's history to win 15 caps under the age of 21, a list that includes his father Claudio.

Wales - Gareth Bale

Nine of Wales' 13 goals at their past two major tournaments, Euro 2016 and 2020, have seen at least one of Bale or Aaron Ramsey either score or provide the assist.

Bale may have lacked playing time over the past year, but that made little difference when scoring all three of Wales' goals in their play-off wins over Austria and Ukraine.

The 33-year-old played a big part in Los Angeles FC's recent MLS Cup triumph and has declared himself fit enough to play a full part in each of the Dragons' matches in Qatar.


There is very little between the sides in terms of FIFA rankings and that is reflected in Stats Perform's AI model.

USA, who have never registered a goalless draw in 33 World Cup matches, have a 39.5 per cent chance of taking all three points, compared to 31.2 per cent for Wales.

The prediction model produces a 29.3 per cent likelihood of a draw happening.

Wales captain Gareth Bale is right where he wants to be ahead of leading his country into their second ever World Cup campaign.

Rob Page's team face the United States on Monday in what is Wales' first World Cup match since a quarter-final loss to Brazil in 1958.

Brazil great Pele scored his first goal for the Selecao in that match, becoming the competition's youngest goalscorer (17 years and 239 days) – a record that stands heading into the 2022 edition of the tournament.

Bale comes into the World Cup on the back of coming off the bench to net Los Angeles FC's extra-time equaliser in the MLS Cup, which finished 3-3 against the Philadelphia Union, with LAFC winning on penalties.

After that match in October, the former Real Madrid forward revealed he was still not at 100 per cent fitness, though at a press conference in Doha on Sunday, Bale put any concerns over his condition to bed.

"I'm right where I want to be, I'm here," he said. "It's the night before the first game and I'm ready to go.

"We've all been training hard the last week, adapting to the heat, the time zones and we have no excuses now – we've put all the hard work in and now it's game time.

"Hopefully we can step up and deliver what needs to be delivered."

Bale is Wales' record goalscorer in major international tournaments, having played a big part in his side's run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and the last 16 of Euro 2020, when he captained the team.

"It's an incredible feeling, one as a kid you dream of, but to actually be in the team that achieves it is an honour to do it for our country," Bale said of playing at a World Cup.

"It's going to be a fun time for us, one we want to enjoy and have fun like we always do as a national team.

"We're in our own little bubble here, but we get sent links and videos in our WhatsApp group of what's going on back home.

"We can see the tensions building. They're wearing their bucket hats more and the shirts are out. We can feel the love and we're going to try to do them proud. We're doing it for our country.

"Every World Cup [I've seen], there's never been a Wales flag. For the youngsters now, to have Wales in the World Cup will be an incredible experience to have."

Bale's sentiment was echoed by manage Page, who said: "I've spent the last week with them. They're ready, absolutely ready, I won't need to fire them up.

"We've got a gameplan, we've done a lot of analysis. They've waited a long time for it. It's been a difficult process to get here, with the emotions we had to manage in the Ukraine [play-off] game.

"I thought the lads showed true class on that day as well, showed they can manage emotions – it'll be no different."

Page also confirmed influential midfielder Joe Allen, a major fitness doubt ahead of the tournament, will play no part against the USA after failing to fully recover from a hamstring injury.

Merab Sharikadze says World Rugby can no longer "ignore" Georgia after their shock 13-12 victory over Wales at the Principality Stadium.

Luka Matkava scored a long-range penalty just two minutes from time to give Georgia an upset win in Cardiff.

That success comes after beating Italy in July and only narrowly losing to Samoa, leading to discussion of them potentially earning a place in the Six Nations.

Georgia have won the second-tier Rugby Europe Championship 11 times in the past 12 years, and Sharikadze believes World Rugby need to take notice of their displays.

"It would be unfair if World Rugby tried to pretend this didn't happen," Georgia's captain Sharikadze told reporters after the Wales triumph. "It says a lot doesn't it that we have beaten two top-tier sides this year.

"I hope they [World Rugby] are watching us. I'm not arrogant, but I hope they don't try to ignore what is happening. How can you when something is so obvious?"

Sharikadze was beaming with pride over his team's stunning performance and result, adding: "It's amazing. Beating Italy was amazing, but beating Wales in Wales is unbelievable. It says a lot doesn't it?

"We have proved many people wrong. For a sportsman there's no better feeling than proving people wrong. It drives you.

"It's a great feeling. We're not world champions, but we have made history. Now people have to look about change."

The UK and Ireland's joint bid to host Euro 2028 has been submitted to UEFA, with 14 venues under consideration to host games at the tournament.

Football associations of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland lodged an expression of interest in hosting the event in March, pledging to organise an "unrivalled" tournament.

Turkey, Italy and Russia have all previously professed their willingness to host the European Championships in either 2028 or 2032, with the latter of the trio doing so despite being banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions following the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Should the joint United Kingdom and Ireland bid triumph, games could be staged at nine stadiums in England, two in the Republic of Ireland, and one in each of the other three countries involved.

A joint statement from the five nations' football associations read: "The UK and Ireland bid to host UEFA Euro 2028 has today submitted our preliminary bid dossier – a key moment in UEFA's campaign process.

"The bid sets out our clear and compelling vision for UEFA Euro 2028: 'Football for all. Football for good. Football for the future'.

"Key to this vision is a commitment to diversity, social purpose and innovation in delivering an outstanding UEFA Euro 2028 that will create unforgettable memories in sold-out, iconic stadia in famous football cities known throughout the world.

"The UK and Ireland's track record of hosting successful major sporting events over many decades means we have the expertise and experience to take this world-class tournament to new heights.

"Our stadia concept includes a proposed shortlist of 14 venues in famous sporting cities known throughout the world, including destinations that are home to clubs with great European football history and heritage. 

"The plan ensures that all our proposed cities and stadia are connected by direct, quick and sustainable travel links and accommodation that will provide an unrivalled experience for teams and fans."

Villa Park, the London Stadium, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Wembley Stadium, the Etihad Stadium, St James' Park, the Stadium of Light, Old Trafford and Everton's planned new home are the nine English venues proposed by the associations.

They are joined on the shortlist by Croke Park, the AVIVA Stadium, Casement Park, Hampden Park and the Millennium Stadium.

The UK and Ireland initially explored the possibility of bidding to host the 2030 World Cup before switching focus in an effort to secure the UEFA competition.

Gareth Bale is "100 per cent fit and ready to go" for Wales at the World Cup in Qatar after battling injury issues.

The former Real Madrid winger's fitness had been a concern before Robert Page named his 26-man squad for Wales' first appearance at the World Cup in 64 years.

Bale has only started twice for Los Angeles FC since joining from Madrid in July, managing just 370 minutes on the pitch.

However, he scored an extra-time equaliser as a substitute against Philadelphia Union in the MLS Cup final, which LAFC won on penalties on November 5.

Bale initially gave Wales reason to be concerned after the final as he said he felt "not 100 per cent fit", but has since backtracked on those comments before travelling to the Middle East.

"I'm 100 per cent fit and ready to go," the Wales international told Sky Sports after revealing his struggles with a "slight issue".

Bale suggested playing the United States, England and Iran in Group B in the space of nine days would be "no problem", with the mental aspects of being sidelined more of a problem than the physical side.

"I'm fully fit and ready to go. If I need to play three 90s, I'll play three 90s," he added. "It's been difficult, mentally more than anything.

"I guess for everybody, the last three or four weeks, it's been difficult, even hearing stories of players going down and knowing they're going to miss the World Cup.

"Speaking to a few of the boys, even for them having to play this weekend was tough mentally, and we're just praying not to have an injury at all because it's such a big occasion."

The tournament has been somewhat overshadowed due to human rights issues in Qatar.

Bale will be among eight captains to wear a distinctive heart-adorned armband, raising awareness for the OneLove campaign against discrimination in a country where same-sex marriage is prohibited.

"For us as footballers, it's been a difficult subject to talk about," said Bale. "But we can shed a light on the problems there that are going on.

"We've spoken to the FAW [Football Association of Wales] and they've been speaking to Welsh government, who've been speaking to Qatar and FIFA, working on these issues.

"For us as players, we're fully behind and support everything we can do. As footballers, the most we can do is raise awareness and it's for people higher up to make those decisions, and hopefully make change for the better."

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