England manager Gareth Southgate has insisted his England team will not be outdone for passion ahead of the Battle of Britain against Wales this week.
Southgate will consider shaking up his selection on Tuesday with England on the brink of qualifying for the last-16 in Qatar. Only a Wales victory by at least four goals will be enough to stop them.
But with Rob Page’s side playing with their World Cup hopes on the line after their 2-0 loss to Iran, Southgate was quick to insist that his side will want it just as much as the Welsh, whose campaign has been built on patriotism with the actor Michael Sheen giving the squad a rousing speech before they left for Qatar.
“We are going to play an opponent that is wounded and, like everybody else, desperate to beat the English,” said Southgate. “Match the spirit….I would be very disappointed if someone says to me that their players will want it more than ours. I would be asking questions about what we stand for and what we have been for five years.
“I don’t think in the time I have been in charge that we have fallen short because of pride or emotion and spirit in wearing the shirt. What we have got to do is play well and use the ball well. They have got some players who can change games and are good players so we have got to be aware of that but it’s about concentrating on our performance and making sure that we step up again.”
When is the match?
The match between England and Wales takes place at 7pm (GMT) on Tuesday, November 29 (10pm in Qatar and 2pm EST).
What TV channel is it on?
The match will be shown live on BBC One. You can also stream it on BBC iPlayer.
What are the permutations going into the match?
England will be hoping to go far into the knockout stages, having made the semi-finals of the last World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.
The sides met in the group stages of Euro 2016, a match which England went on to win 2-1, requiring a 91st-minute winner from Daniel Sturridge. Gareth Bale got Wales's goal.
Wales must beat England in their final group game to have any hope of avoiding an early elimination, a fate already suffered by hosts Qatar just two games into their World Cup campaign.
What is the latest injury news? Is Harry Kane fit?
Southgate will check on fitness levels before deciding whether to make changes to his starting line-up after drawing a blank against USA, although James Maddison is likely to only be ready for the bench after returning to training after a knee injury.
“We’ve got to assess how everybody is after the game. Then we have got to consider whether refreshing certain positions is going to be as important because we have got a good squad and these games are taking a lot out of people,” Southgate said.
Harry Kane has been suffering from discomfort in his foot while striking the ball following the knock he took in England’s opener against Iran. But Southgate insisted playing Kane in the goalless draw with USA on Friday posed no risk to his captain after scan results showed he had no significant damage.
“He has had a whack to his foot so there is a tiny bit of discomfort when he is striking the ball but we are not talking about anything that was a risk in any way shape or form,” said Southgate.
Kane struggled for clear opportunities at Al Bayt Stadium against USA and missed a chance with a header. After the final whistle he was pictured with his ankle strapped and looking slightly swollen.
The Tottenham striker has suffered serious ankle injuries previously in his career and carrying on playing was seen as a good sign, as he now knows exactly when he has suffered a bad problem.
Where does the match take place?
The game will be played in the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium (also known as the Al-Rayyan Stadium) in Al-Rayyan. The 40,000 seater ground was inaugurated on 18 December 2020 when it hosted the Amir Cup final, and is the home of Al Rayyan Sports Club.
It is the host location for all three of Wales's group stage matches, which could give Robert Page's men a slight advantage through familiarity.
England and Wales have played each other 103 times – the first fixture taking place in 1879, and the most recent in 2020.
England have won 68, drawn 21 and lost just 14. You have to go back to 1984 for Wales's last victory against England. The Three Lions have won the last six encounters.
What are England saying?
Kieran Trippier will hope to draw on his experience of winning La Liga when he steps onto the pitch at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium. The England full-back is likely to be marking Gareth Bale, his neighbour in Madrid when he won the title in Spain.
Trippier, 32, became part of a select group of British players to finish top of the table with Atlético Madrid during the time Bale was coming towards the end of his trophy-laden spell at Real Madrid, with both living in the La Finca district popular with footballers.
They will face each other when England will look for a point to seal a place in the World Cup knockout stages, while Wales need victory to stay in the competition.
“I didn't play with him but obviously I lived not far from him, literally behind me in Madrid,” Trippier said. “I spent a lot of time with him, a world-class player, I think the records speak for themselves with Gareth. But we know it's going to be a battle we need to be mentally ready, physically ready for that next game.”
Trippier insisted England should not panic after their goalless draw against USA on Friday evening, where they struggled to create chances and missed the chance to seal qualification to the next stage from Group B. The Newcastle United full-back says he can understand the frustration of fans, who jeered the team off at the final whistle.
“I didn't hear the booing but of course the fans want to see goals and to win matches but all I can say to that is that the commitment from the boys is there, we give 100 per cent in every single game so yes, of course we understand the frustration because we didn't win the game but we gave everything, a point is a good result,” he said.
What are Wales saying?
Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, so often the architects of Wales' successes down the years, were both disappointing in their 2-0 defeat to Iran and they now need a victory over England on Tuesday to have any hope of reaching the knockout stages.
Head coach Rob Page even appeared to refer to the England game as Wales' "final" match of the tournament, underlining how difficult the road ahead is for the Dragons from here.
"This is a hard one to take," Page said. "I've said to them before every game: 'Go and show the world what you show us every day,' and that is not a true reflection of that team.
"They got their true rewards today, they deserved that defeat. We fell well below the standards that got us to the World Cup, if we'd met those standards we'd have been alright. And if you do that in top competitions, you get punished."
Asked about the England game, Page said: "We want to finish the competition on a high. It's out of our hands for going through, but we want to finish with a good performance and a win.
"We're low at the moment, but we'll get them back up tomorrow for a tough game to finish with."
England to win 4/9
Wales to win 13/2