First high-stakes game for Berhalter’s USMNT

USA and Wales head to Monday’s World Cup clash knowing that victory could decide one of the two Group B qualifiers, with England seen as the heavy favorites to progress as the group winners.

With a golden generation of talent led by Gareth Bale and playing in their first World Cup in 64 years, Wales will be ready to echo their recent success at European level, having reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and the last 16 at Euro 2020.

Manager Rob Page has called up nine Premier League-based players in his World Cup squad – something USA coach Gregg Berhalter has said the Americans must not underestimate, although Wales’ preparations are hampered by injuries to key players, including Joe Allen and Aaron Ramsey.

“I think, at least for the American media, Wales is underrated,Berhalter told reporters. “When I look at their team, it’s basically a Premier League side.

“For me, it’s a very good team, a great team. They have already participated in international competitions, they know what it is. And it’s going to be a very tough game.

Team USA suffered a tough run in Qatar and failed to score in September’s friendlies against Japan and Saudi Arabia, but Berhalter’s young but unproven side will seek to silence the critics when they return to the World Cup stage after eight years.