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Wales’ viral video hinges on World Cup clash with England

 


DOHA, Qatar (AP) If England need any extra motivation ahead of their World Cup final group game against Wales on Tuesday, one only has to watch a certain video from 2016.

Footage of Wales’ players celebrating wildly as their British neighbors crashed out of the European Championships after losing to Iceland went viral at the time.

England was humiliated. Wales, who lost 2-1 to the Three Lions in the group stage but went all the way to the semi-finals, were jubilant.

A lot has changed since then, a point England striker Marcus Rashford made ahead of the Group B match.

I don’t think it takes a genius to see how we’ve improved since 2016. It feels like a completely different team to me. We have come so far. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves along the way, he said.

In 2016, if you look at that performance when we were knocked out in the Euros, it’s a million miles away from where we are now. You can’t really compare the two situations.

That sentiment is backed up by England’s tournament performances over the past four years, reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018 and the final of last years European Championship, which they lost on penalties to Italy.

England are among the favorites to triumph in Qatar and need just a point against Wales to guarantee qualification for the knockout stage. Depending on the goal difference, England could still progress even if they lose that match.

For Wales, the stakes are much higher.

Bottom of the group with a point from their first two games, Wales must win to have any chance of reaching the round of 16 in their first World Cup since 1958.

That’s the injury right now, midfielder Joe Allen said. It’s a sense of missed opportunities in the first two games.

Our focus now goes to getting on the training pitch, working and preparing for the performance of our lives against England, he added.

Wales will look to Gareth Bale for inspiration if they are to win against England for the first time since 1984.

The Los Angeles FC forward came into the tournament after just one game since the start of October and has looked troubled in his performances.

Meanwhile, England’s Harry Kane is yet to score at this World Cup and was off the pace in his side’s 0-0 draw with the United States after taking a heavy challenge in the previous game against Iran.

The 2018 Golden Boot winner is just three goals away from surpassing Wayne Rooney’s 53 to become his nation’s all-time top scorer.

Manager Gareth Southgate confirmed that Kane is fit to start against Wales.

With Harry, we will obviously pick a team that we believe can win the game. This is our priority as always, he said.

He is good in terms of the shot he had. He is well trained.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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