November 2022

World Cup 2024: Wales vs USA

World Cup 2024: Wales vs USA  While nothing like the connection exists between Wales and America as it does with, say, England or Scotland, there is a clear sporting interest in this one. Both teams will open their tournament against one another, knowing they probably need something from this game. Failure to win on game one leaves a match against a likely-desperate Iran and England to come for Wales. America, meanwhile, might already have lost to England and thus will need to pick up something ahead of matchday three.

This is a very interesting tie – both teams have equal quality and probably similar levels of concern. Wales are looking at a disparate team outside of Gareth Bale, who is barely match fit, and the USMNT are glaring in their lack of offensive options. Unfortunately, this could lead to a sterile game that might not go anywhere fast – tactical as opposed to intense is the likely outcome.

Who will win this tie?

Score draw. Both teams will come into this one needing something to get their tournament going early doors. A win on day one would likely set one up for qualification whilst condemning the other to an early exit. This does not look likely, though; the athleticism of America should help to subdue the technical quality of many of the Welsh players.

There is not likely to be much between these teams, so do not expect anything other than a tight and at times challenging to watch affair. For Wales, keeping their emotions in-check will be very important.

VERDICT: 1-1

Adayar

Adayar  Owned by Godolphin and trained by Charlie Appleby, Adayar is already a racehorse of not inconsiderable claims to fame. The son of Frankel first attracted attention when comfortably winning his maiden at Nottingham by 9 lengths on his second start as a juvenile in October, 2020. However, following defeat in the Classic Trial at Sandown and the Derby Trial at Lingfield, Adayar was the least fancied of three Appleby-trained runners in the Derby, behind Hurricane Lane and One Ruler.

Nevertheless, Adayar was the subject of late support, into 16/1, for the Epsom Classic and duly prevailed, in taking style. With jockey Adam Kirby opting for a bold run against the far rail, he led approaching the final quarter of a mile and galloped on strongly to beat Mojo Star by 4½ lengths; stable companion Hurricane Lane finished third, a further 3¼ lengths away.

The following month, Adayar also won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, thereby becoming the first Derby winner since Galileo – coincidentally his grand-sire – in 2001 to do so. Two defeats, in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and the Champion Stakes at Ascot, followed, but Adayar remains in training as a four-year-old. He is, jointly, the highest-rated horse in Europe, according to Timeform and, according to Appleby, ‘ he is only going to get stronger as he fills into his frame’.

Appleby has nominated the Coronation Cup, back at Epsom, in early June as a likely starting point for 2022, with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes once again on the agenda. Adayar has been beaten on his last three starts short of a mile and a half, but Appleby will make a decision about dropping back in distance for the Juddmonte International at York in August in due course.