It’s been eight years since Team USA competed in the World Cup. So Monday is a big day to watch as the Men’s National Team opens group play.
Team USA will meet Wales at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, Qatar for the first-round World Cup match. The match starts at 1 p.m. Central. And if you’re curious, Team USA is playing its first World Cup match about a 50-mile drive from Doha, which is the tournament headquarters.
Now, for some other preview facts before you settle in to watch the match.
Find Christian Pulisic. He’s the undisputed star of the American team. He was only 19 six years ago when Team USA failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. And losing crushed him. But 2022 is a fresh chance for a reworked team.
‘But looking back on it, that motivated me that much more,” Pulisic said in a recent interview with Good Morning America. “It’s all in front of us, it’s up to play for. Being in a World Cup, I still can’t wait for that feeling.”
He also added: “I like the quote, “If you play for the badge on the front of your jersey, people remember the name on the back… I think being American, it means something. It means something to a lot of people around the world and that’s why every time I put on that jersey, I hope that I can inspire people back home.”
In normal soccer times, Pulisic plays for Chelsea, where the locals have nicknamed him “Captain America.”
”I think being American, it means something … and that’s why every time I put on that jersey, I hope that I can inspire people back home.” @cpulisic_10 talks to @reevewill ahead of making his #FIFAWorldCup debut with the #USMNT. https://t.co/kWY5S6wpLC pic.twitter.com/AQ3q4LVOr0— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 21, 2022
Gareth Bale leads the Welsh squad. And he may be a familiar name to American sports fans. After all, Bale helped Los Angeles FC to this year’s MLS championship. And while competing for powerhouse Real Madrid, he also competed for three La Liga titles and five UEFA Champions League titles.
Bale loves playing for his home country, which has been absent from the World Cup for 64 years. The Americans are well aware of who he is. Midfielder Kellyn Acosta was teammates with Bales at LAFC.
“You’ve just got to limit his time and space,” Acosta told reporters. “And obviously everyone knows his left foot. He’s the guy to keep an eye on and I think he’s super pivotal for the Wales team.
“He’s the captain, the catalyst and, yeah, he’s a special player, so it’s about just kicking him around a little bit!”