Wales need what England had in 1986 to qualify, but Gareth Southgate knows people are waiting for him to fail

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England have won all their six meetings against Wales, who have a mountain to climb if they are to qualify

You may remember that famous Diego Maradona goal against England back in 1986: all that would not have happened if Sir Bobby Robson had not shaken up the England team and made changes after a slow start.

During that tournament the Three Lions had lost the opening game to Portugal and drew with Morocco before the changes Robson made helped England to win against Poland. They moved to a win against Paraguay to set up that famous match against Argentina.

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That has gone on to be forever remembered for that Maradona moment, but Wales have waited decades to be at the World Cup and now they face a similar situation. They drew with the USA in the first game and lost to Iran. A heavy win against England, a team they have lost to in their last six meetings, could see them secure a place in the knockout stage of the World Cup - if the USA draw with Iran.

These Welsh players have given everything to reach some of the greatest nights in their country’s history, but they will need to dig deep and find it within them for one last hurrah if they are to turn all the frustrations of the last week into pure ecstasy.

In captain Gareth Bale they have a man who has seen it all at the highest level, but they need him now more than ever, alongside the likes of Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey.

Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England, acknowledges the fans following the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England, acknowledges the fans following the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England, acknowledges the fans following the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Southgate missed a trick against the USA now he has no room for error

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One of the reasons Gareth Southgate is under pressure, despite leading England to a semi-final place at the World Cup and the final of the Euros, is that there is feeling he is not getting the best out of this current generation of English players.

He left Phil Foden on the bench in a game where Bukayo Saka lost the ball more than he kept it, and brought on Jordan Henderson when the team needed creativity. The fact that he is quite keen on players like Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham sitting behind Mason Mount has seen fans question if he can ever play without the handbrake on.

England also endured a very difficult Nations League and even though they blew away Iran, they know they have to top the group if they are to avoid a potential semi-final clash with favourites Brazil at some point.

The fans are divided when it comes to Southgate’s ability and he’s been decent in a brutal football culture, but is there a manager out there who could easily turn this team into a winning machine and perhaps get them win a major trophy with this group of players?

England player families enjoying themselves

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The players of the English team were allowed time to be with their partners and friends after the draw with the USA and if you look on the Instagram pages you can see how they are enjoying the World Cup.

Arsenal star Aaron Ramsdale’s girlfriend Georgina Irwin has been on a boat cruise and updated her followers, while captain Harry Kane is one of many who always spend time with his wife and kids after games.

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