Wales World Cup 2022 squad and preview: Rob Page announces final team for Qatar

Wales World Cup 2022 squad
Gareth Bale has helped fire Wales to the World Cup in Qatar (Image credit: PA)

Rob Page has revealed the Wales World Cup 2022 squad, for their first FIFA tournament in over 60 years.

After Pele’s goal knocked Wales out of the 1958 World Cup quarter-finals in Sweden, star defender Mel Charles arrived at Swansea station and was asked by the ticket collector if he’d been on holiday. Every four years for six decades hence, even this humble homecoming was mere fantasy.

Wales are back, fired by self-belief. Fans and players share an emotional connection. Yma O Hyd, Dafydd Iwan’s early-1980s folk song, was adopted by supporters and squad alike, until Iwan was tearfully performing ahead of the

World Cup play-off backed by a choir of 32,000. “Er gwaetha pawb a phopeth, ry’n ni yma o hyd.” “Despite everyone and everything, we’re still here.”

Still, qualifying is old (bucket) hat for Cymru these days. A third qualification across four tournaments, followed by positive Nations League performances against top teams, restored confidence after a weird Euro 2020 in which Wales found no rhythm, flying to Azerbaijan and back with a caretaker manager, a never-before-tried false nine role for Aaron Ramsey, and COVID restrictions on fans which dictated that the loss to Denmark in Amsterdam was watched by 14,000 Danes and 14 Welshmen. 

Although the squad hasn’t changed much, the players’ circumstances have. Eight of the XI to start June’s play-off win against Ukraine have since moved to a new club. Wales’ World Cup squad will feature a diaspora of players from MLS, Serie A, Ligue 1 and League 2. 

Only two positions are doubtful. Euro 2020 star goalkeeper Danny Ward received his monkey’s paw wish of finally being picked by Leicester, but behind a terrible defence, whereas Wayne Hennessey justified his surprise selection against Ukraine with the best performance of his 100-cap career.

The other question is one of attitude. Rob Page will throw a convalescing Ramsey straight into a must-not-lose opening game alongside perpetual fitness worry Gareth Bale, so are extra legs needed in midfield, or in attack? There’s Harry Wilson (10 goals and 19 assists in Fulham’s promotion season) and Brennan Johnson (arguably Wales’ best forward), yet Dan James must start, as he has all 34 competitive internationals since his debut, because he does the running of three men. 

Wales have form, however – like a sort of anti-Scotland, they’ve reached the knockouts in each of their three tournament appearances before now. They aren’t just here for a holiday.

Wales World Cup 2022 squad

Wales World Cup 2022 squad: The final 26-player team

  • GK: Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest)
  • GK: Danny Ward (Leicester City)
  • GK: Adam Davies (Sheffield United)
  • DF: Ben Davies (Tottenham)
  • DF: Joe Rodon (Rennes)
  • DF: Ben Cabango (Swansea City) 
  • DF: Chris Mepham (Bournemouth)
  • DF: Chris Gunter (AFC Wimbledon)
  • DF: Connor Roberts (Burnley)
  • DF: Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest)
  • DF: Ethan Amapdu (Spezia)
  • DF: Tom Lockyer (Luton)
  • MF: Aaron Ramsey (Nice)
  • MF: Joe Allen (Swansea City)
  • MF: Harry Wilson (Fulham)
  • MF: Joe Morrell (Portsmouth)
  • MF: Matthew Smith (MK Dons)
  • MF: Dylan Levitt (Dundee United)
  • MF: Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield)
  • MF: Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City)
  • MF: Jonny Williams (Swindon Town)
  • FW: Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC)
  • FW: Daniel James (Fulham)
  • FW: Mark Harris (Cardiff City)
  • FW: Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth)
  • FW: Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest)

Wales World Cup 2022 top scorers

1 goal: Gareth Bale

Wales World Cup 2022 yellow cards

One yellow card: Gareth Bale, Chris Mepham, Joe Rodon

Wales World Cup 2022 red cards

1 red card: Wayne Hennessey

Wales manager

Gareth Bale proved in the play-offs that even if Wales have learned to get results without him, and even if Joes Rodon and Allen are harder to replace, he is the star in big games, with everyone else in his orbit. And this World Cup matters. He’s won several Champions League titles, but at 33, Bale would say his career has been building to this point.

Star player

Who is Wales' best player?

The new four-year contract for caretaker-turned-headmaster Rob Page was a reward not just for his patience but for his effective blend of preparation and passion. He is popular with the players, and says, “They know I’ve got a bite and that they’ll be told if things aren’t right, but if things are great, they’ll have a cwtsh every now and again.”

How many players are Wales allowed to take to the 2022 World Cup?

National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure brought in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now it has been announced that 26-player squads will return for the Qatar World Cup, an expansion from the usual 23-man teams.

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