USMNT: Hold My Beer

Mr. Wednesday

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punch it Zach. jeebus, this is goalie 101. When is Turner coming back
Doesn't matter, Gregg will still start Steffen. I think there's a pretty decent argument that Horvath is better too, and playing Steffen will (maybe already has) cost us a game when he lets in a goal that one of the other guys would have stopped.
 

Kliq

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Can't believe I'm seeing so many people on social media (and a little on here) complaining about Gregg, Acosta, Steffen, Jordan Morris, etc. We fucking qualified for the World Cup after the humiliation of 2017. We FUCKING DID IT!
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Can't believe I'm seeing so many people on social media (and a little on here) complaining about Gregg, Acosta, Steffen, Jordan Morris, etc. We fucking qualified for the World Cup after the humiliation of 2017. We FUCKING DID IT!
Having been in the stadium for the disaster in Harrison, NJ I can’t even fathom complaining about a thing right now. There will be plenty of time for that later.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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I’m psyched! I was a “oh hey, it’s the World Cup time to go hard for the US!” fan for most of my life and really only fell deeply into the wider world of following soccer after the 2014 World Cup.

After which, the US then promptly crapped the bed.

This will be the first World Cup for me where I both understand the context of who most of the players are in the global game and I get to root for an extremely likable US team.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Can't believe I'm seeing so many people on social media (and a little on here) complaining about Gregg, Acosta, Steffen, Jordan Morris, etc. We fucking qualified for the World Cup after the humiliation of 2017. We FUCKING DID IT!
It feels like maybe it is people that have either forgotten or have never been through CONCACAF qualification. Nobody blitzes through. The margins are so fine. It has always been exactly like this and there is exactly one result that matters. It has always been like this.
 

Kliq

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It feels like maybe it is people that have either forgotten or have never been through CONCACAF qualification. Nobody blitzes through. The margins are so fine. It has always been exactly like this and there is exactly one result that matters. It has always been like this.
Right, people look at the talent the US has and the big clubs some of our guys play for, and look at most of the Costa Rican team having domestic players and wonder how we could possibly lose; and if we do we assume the coach is definitely fucking it up. I'm not super into Gregg but he has earned some respect here by getting us through. We never sail through CONCACAF, it's always a grind. That is how international soccer works; it's players playing infrequently in different systems and trying to make things work.
 

cromulence

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One thing to sort of drive home how young and green this team is - (probably) Yedlin, and HOPEFULLY, Brooks, will be the only two guys in Qatar who have been to a World Cup. This team had to learn how to CONCACAF on the fly, and they generally did a great job, even if the actual G didn't always match the xG. They got it done, and the future is bright.
 

ninjacornelius

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It's always worth mentioning in conversations like this that Adams, McKennie, Pulisic, Reyna, and Dest have never suited up together in the same game. Ever. We've been through two continental cups and a full World Cup qualifying cycle and we still don't really know what this full squad is capable of.
 

DJnVa

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Tim Howard ain't walking through that door.

But that is basic stuff, if you cannot 110% catch it, punch the shit out it, not let it drop feebly into the mixer. I'm only a retired CB and sometimes wingback. I think @DJnVa plays keeper still? He can disagree
Hell yeah. No rebounds near the goal. Just get it out of there and let everyone reset.
 

Titans Bastard

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You do you, but it's okay to just kinda be happy for the team you know?
Furthermore, we are not in fact one step closer to firing Berhalter, regardless of one's opinion about whether or not it should happen.
 

dirtynine

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Checking every box (Nations League title, Gold Cup title, WC22 Qualification), plus building an entirely new team with a bunch of kids, is a very impressive job by Gregg. He gets credit for some style points too - a dos a cero and a point at Azteca isn't bad to have on the resume. He switched the way the team played to something less reactionary and more purposeful, which previous managers either tried and failed to do (JK) or didn't really try at all (BA, BB). I suppose some unicorn manager somewhere may have been able to do more tactically or with specific instruction, but then I don't know that they could have done the other parts of the job (installing a playing philosophy, fostering culture, recruiting, handling growing pains perfectly a la the McKennie situation, and hopefully the Brooks situation as well).

I am glad he's here right now, heading into this World Cup. We may be ready for a new approach leading up to 26, but there's plenty of time for that.
 

Arroyo Con Frijoles

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CONCACAF qualification isn't easy for anyone....except Canada! I think it's ok to be disappointed to have qualified on goal differential while at the same time also being happy we qualified. I'm not a Gregg hater or anything, but I have higher expectations for this group than squeaking through. And it doesn't matter anyway, because he's coaching us in Qatar, so better just sit back and hope for the best.
 

Gunfighter 09

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I am not a Greggggg hater, I am impressed by what he has done, I hope he does a great job in the WC. I also feel very strongly that the team needs to thank him and say goodbye after the cup and bring in a really top notch coach to lead the team for the most important cycle in our history.
 

Titans Bastard

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I am not a Greggggg hater, I am impressed by what he has done, I hope he does a great job in the WC. I also feel very strongly that the team needs to thank him and say goodbye after the cup and bring in a really top notch coach to lead the team for the most important cycle in our history.
I agree. I am almost always in favor of rotating out coaches at the end of a cycle. It went poorly for Arena after 2002, it went poorly for Bradley after 2010, and it went poorly for Klinsmann after 2014.

I expect he'll be back for the next cycle though.
 

rguilmar

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I probably do qualify as a GGG hater, but to be fair I gave him a pretty long leash. I did question the way he was hired, but he said things I liked to hear. I have a few issues with him having watched this team over the years.

1. His priority of system over all else. This is not a club team where you can just bring players in based on fit. This is a national team where you build around the players, not the other way around.
2. No identity. Are we a possession team? High press? Attack the box? Like, what is our identity as a team? Obvious contrast is Canada. They change personnel, formation and so on, but they know who they are and what they're trying to do.
3. Too complicated. Eryk Williamson mentioned how it took three camps for him to grasp all of the "if x then y"s of what Gregg wants this team to do. KISS. Once again, this is a national team not a club team.
4. Squad selection. I'm not going to get into player A over player B, but consistently he could have called larger squads and consistently he did not. The idea that we are flying Shaq Moore in from Spain is insane. Yedlin was on a yellow and assuming he wouldn't get another in Mexico is foolish. Players are being overplayed, so injuries are to be expected. Plus Covid. This is exactly why teams were allowed to bring larger squads. Plus, with his overly complex system, bringing in more players to get them accustomed to it seemed like a no brainer.
5. Playing one way. Just that 4-3-3 with minimal alterations in terms of press. It prioritizes system over players and makes it difficult to make in game adjustments. What can they adjust to? The only thing that can be changed is personnel through subs, who are then asked to play in a way that isn't to their strengths. So instead we have Acosta at the 8 twice in the most important window.
6. This is team is less than the sum of their parts. For the most part, the players play worse for the USMNT than they do for their clubs. Most of the time these club games are against better competition than what they play in Concacaf. For me, Pulisic hasn't looked good for the USMNT for a while, including the hat trick game. Gregg will force Gio out of position because, you know, his system. Weston is given more freedom in the field in Italy than for the US (let that sink in for a minute) where he initiates the press and often is more consistently in goal threatening positions.
7. The Minneapolis game. I will not forgive that one. Bad luck with the weather but it wasn't uncommon for it to be that cold. Such an insane injury risk, when closer stadiums (DC for example) could have hosted with better weather. Gregg so much as admitted that it was to keep the attendance limited to particular segment of the US population (i.e. white people). For me, this federation should be inviting people into the tent, not keeping them out. Yes the US won by three goals, against a team that we beat by three goals in their home stadium (remember how difficult it is to play away in Concacaf???). What advantage was really gained?
8. I hate the "win at home, tie on the road" mentality. Canada pulled a nine point window with two away games and home against what should have been difficult competition, the US. Without two of their top players, including the best player in the region.

Obviously players deserve some of the blame. I think I said it after the Mexico game that Gregg put the team in the position to win and they players didn't do the job. If Tecatito has a better first touch on that chance, we could have even lost, and I would consider that loss on the players not Gregg. They are young and inconsistent, but can we say after the entire qualifying cycle that they improved as you would expect a young team to do? They finished with their worst window, albeit probably the toughest one. Concacaf does have some difficult conditions to play in, but in this cycle (in colder weather) those difficult conditions are similar -not the same- to what European club games are like. Busses getting surrounded and pushed, insane crowd atmospheres, noise outside of hotels, things like that.

Yes, the US won tournaments over the summer, but there were plenty of "well, that's soccer" wins where we got lucky than the "we deserved to win that game" performances. I think he has built a solid team atmosphere. But lesser US teams, in terms of talent, finished first in Concacaf qualifying. This team finished third and won one away game. They are going to the world cup on GD. Gregg promised to change how the world sees American soccer, that was his promise getting hired. While the perception might have changed, it is due to the success of players like at big clubs Pulisic, Dest, Weston, and Gio. The world still sees the USMNT the same way.

For me, I'm done with him. I'll root for him to succeed, of course, but my worst fear is that USSF will keep him on for 2026.
 

Kliq

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Checking every box (Nations League title, Gold Cup title, WC22 Qualification), plus building an entirely new team with a bunch of kids, is a very impressive job by Gregg. He gets credit for some style points too - a dos a cero and a point at Azteca isn't bad to have on the resume. He switched the way the team played to something less reactionary and more purposeful, which previous managers either tried and failed to do (JK) or didn't really try at all (BA, BB). I suppose some unicorn manager somewhere may have been able to do more tactically or with specific instruction, but then I don't know that they could have done the other parts of the job (installing a playing philosophy, fostering culture, recruiting, handling growing pains perfectly a la the McKennie situation, and hopefully the Brooks situation as well).

I am glad he's here right now, heading into this World Cup. We may be ready for a new approach leading up to 26, but there's plenty of time for that.
Really well said. I think a lot of people tend to grossly overestimate the general quality of national team coaches. Sir Alex isn't walking through that door. Garreth Southgate was sacked at Middleborough before he found his way into the England side. Joachim Low was coaching in Austria before working with the German team. It's a weird job that does not resemble managing a club in the slightest.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't follow the USMNT nearly as closely as you guys but the thing that really sticks out to me is that Gregg seems deadset on playing a 4-3-3 system that is really difficult to play at a high level without a lot of practice and is very vulnerable against quality sides if you don't have excellent central defenders. And the team doesn't have much time to train and CB is probably the weakest position on the roster.

Results have been OK but this system really hasn't been tested against good sides and my guess is that there will be some tough learning experiences once that happens. When you're in the midst of a bunch of CONCACAF rockfights its easy to lose sight of the fact that the level of even the best opponents like Mexico and Canada is fairly low. They don't have the devastating players up front or really high technical level in midfield to punish you when the press is executed poorly or when you leave your CBs on an island to defend against counter-attacks in space.
 
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DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Anyone thinking about going to Qatar? Next phase of ticket sales starts on April 5. Accommodations is complicated and has to be organized through FIFA. Probably not enough to warrant its own thread.
 

dirtynine

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Anyone thinking about going to Qatar? Next phase of ticket sales starts on April 5. Accommodations is complicated and has to be organized through FIFA. Probably not enough to warrant its own thread.
I went to the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups and attended US matches. (Skipped '18 with the team.) That said, I've got no plans to go to Qatar. What I'll probably do is to go somewhere festive in Europe during the Cup to watch matches there. Thinking maybe Amsterdam or Munich.
 

rguilmar

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I went to the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups and attended US matches. (Skipped '18 with the team.) That said, I've got no plans to go to Qatar. What I'll probably do is to go somewhere festive in Europe during the Cup to watch matches there. Thinking maybe Amsterdam or Munich.
That’s probably a good compromise. I can’t bring myself to go to Qatar, but a fun European spot seems reasonable.
 

candylandriots

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Anyone thinking about going to Qatar? Next phase of ticket sales starts on April 5. Accommodations is complicated and has to be organized through FIFA. Probably not enough to warrant its own thread.
I’ll definitely be there. I bought tickets for 5 games - two group games and 3 R16 matches. Waiting to see who the group games are before buying plane tickets and hotels.

There is at least one other SoSHer who will be there (I’ll let him decide if he wants to reveal himself).

Let me know if you’re going - would be great to meet up with anyone there. My wife and I ended up in Brazil kind of by accident, and it was one of the best weeks of my life. We went to Russia too and agreed we would go to every time possible. It was that much fun.

I am bummed we missed out on the USA tickets (long-ish story why), because Qatar is as easy a place to follow the team as possible.

Edit: hotel-wise the qatar2022.qa seems the place to go. We searched on kayak at first, and got a 3* hotel for €96,000 for 9 nights. There are some cruise ships Qatar is bringing in for accommodation that are a little bit more affordable.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I’ll definitely be there. I bought tickets for 5 games - two group games and 3 R16 matches. Waiting to see who the group games are before buying plane tickets and hotels.

There is at least one other SoSHer who will be there (I’ll let him decide if he wants to reveal himself).

Let me know if you’re going - would be great to meet up with anyone there. My wife and I ended up in Brazil kind of by accident, and it was one of the best weeks of my life. We went to Russia too and agreed we would go to every time possible. It was that much fun.

I am bummed we missed out on the USA tickets (long-ish story why), because Qatar is as easy a place to follow the team as possible.

Edit: hotel-wise the qatar2022.qa seems the place to go. We searched on kayak at first, and got a 3* hotel for €96,000 for 9 nights. There are some cruise ships Qatar is bringing in for accommodation that are a little bit more affordable.
I bought tickets too. I'd be there during the third round of group games and also for the first two R16 games. It's mostly aspirational at this point. I am skeptical whether I'd actually end up going. The tickets were not that expensive and I think there will an opportunity to sell them back to FIFA if I decide not to go. I think if I get crazy good games or USA games it would be easier to think about going. We'll see. I will let you know for sure.

It may not be too late for you to get USA tickets. The next random draw sale starts on 4/5.
 

67YAZ

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I was trying to think of there was a reason why Gregg wouldn’t keep his job through another cycle.

Maybe something miserable and disastrous happens in Qatar, like worse than getting swept out with 3 losses. Whatever that could be, it’s far worse than a second cycle of Gregg.

Maybe the US goes on a crazy run in Qatar and Gregg gets a job offer he’d be stupid to turn down. Seems a slim possibility.

A good performance in Qatar probably nets Gregg some quiet interest from quality clubs, but I have to think managing this US squad - where the core will be prime aged - at home in 2026 is just too good to walk away from.

Edit: I’ll add that I think Gregg would be well served by bringing on another assistant with some tactical nous to even out the very valid criticism @rguilmar poses. Gregg has built a great culture, nurtured the young‘uns along through a pandemic and grinding, packed qualification cycle. He’s also done a great job grabbing dual nationals - not all of them, but Dest & Ferreira look to be key cogs for the future. The USMNT can do a lot worse, and I fear they would given their track record.

Edit 2: It strikes me that Gregg has actually fostered the kind of culture Klinsman always promised to bring in.
 
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Titans Bastard

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I've said that I expect Berhalter to be back for the next cycle. However — and to argue with myself a bit — it's worth noting that USSF leadership has changed a lot since the last time a decision had to be made about giving a manager a second cycle. Gulati is gone and, more significantly, Dan Flynn is gone after a 20-year stint as CEO. We don't know how Cone and Wilson will handle the situation, especially because Berhalter isn't really "their guy", as he was hired before they attained their positions.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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I've said that I expect Berhalter to be back for the next cycle. However — and to argue with myself a bit — it's worth noting that USSF leadership has changed a lot since the last time a decision had to be made about giving a manager a second cycle. Gulati is gone and, more significantly, Dan Flynn is gone after a 20-year stint as CEO. We don't know how Cone and Wilson will handle the situation, especially because Berhalter isn't really "their guy", as he was hired before they attained their positions.
Isn't the real question what Stewart and McBride will want to do?
 

Yo La Tengo

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Does a host team (that automatically qualifies) participate in the qualification rounds? Curious if Mexico, Canada, and the US will play in the CONCACAF qualifiers next cycle.

It looks like the US will host 60 games, with Canada/Mexico hosting 10 games each.

With the expansion to 48 teams, I think there is less worry about the US qualifying, but being placed in whatever is the top pod (where Qatar is now) will be a big advantage. Not sure which team will get that spot with three co-hosts.
 

Merkle's Boner

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I went to the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups and attended US matches. (Skipped '18 with the team.) That said, I've got no plans to go to Qatar. What I'll probably do is to go somewhere festive in Europe during the Cup to watch matches there. Thinking maybe Amsterdam or Munich.
Great idea. My son will be studying abroad in Barcelona this fall and I’ve been thinking about when to make a trip over to see him. Barcelona would be a great place to watch a few games I would guess.
 

dirtynine

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Group B it is.

21 November 2022
England v Iran
United States v [Wales|Scotland|Ukraine]

25 November 2022 (Black Friday)
England v United States
[Wales|Scotland|Ukraine] v Iran

29 November 2022
[Wales|Scotland|Ukraine] v England
Iran vs United States
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Black Friday is typically when we have our high school alumni game and drinks/food afterword at whichever local bar agrees to open early for us. That is going to be fun, hoping that one does end up in "primetime".
 

dirtynine

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Man, I want to take down England so badly. The takes I'm reading on club message boards are the worst - disdainful and dismissive of the competition but also completely pessimistic. "If England keep getting easy groups it'll make Southgate look too successful, and we'll never win anything." It's an amazing skill English supporters have.
 

Kliq

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Man, I want to take down England so badly. The takes I'm reading on club message boards are the worst - disdainful and dismissive of the competition but also completely pessimistic. "If England keep getting easy groups it'll make Southgate look too successful, and we'll never win anything." It's an amazing skill English supporters have.
This is pretty much the same as some US supporters annoyed that qualifying for the World Cup will enable Gregg to hang around longer than they want him too.

Soccer fans, in my experience, are probably the most cynical, dreadful fanbases I associate myself with. The banter is truly awful.
 

Mr. Wednesday

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That's a pretty bad draw for the U.S. for the group, though it's potentially a nice draw for the octos if we should somehow win the group. Wales was one of the two pot 4 teams I really wanted to avoid (along with Peru) as they're playing more like a pot 2 team.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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That schedule isn't right, is it? I thought Qatar v Ecuador was the opening game, but it's listed there as a 19:00 start (after SEN v NED and ENG v IRN); I wonder what other mistakes are in it.
Seems like it is legit, maybe to get it in local primetime? I’m seeing that the time was moved.

Really happy with the evening matches, seems like it should reduce the risk of obscene heat-related difficulties.

Not as thrilled with having such little time between the break in club schedule and the first match.
 

Titans Bastard

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I think UEFA teams will underperform expectations on the aggregate, and am glad to get two of them. European teams are never as good when the tournament isn't in Europe, and the average highs in Doha in November are in the 85 F range.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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That schedule isn't right, is it? I thought Qatar v Ecuador was the opening game, but it's listed there as a 19:00 start (after SEN v NED and ENG v IRN); I wonder what other mistakes are in it.
Maybe they wanted a night time spectacular? This comes from the FIFA website itself. But I guess it could be a mistake.

They definitely did way more manipulating than they said they were going to do. Before the draw they sold tickets at a fixed time. They said they were retaining flexibility about which games to put in which stadiums but they definitely did not say that they were going to mess with starting times.

If you held a ticket for match 33, you held a ticket for the game that was going to be played at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium at 18:00 local time on 11/29, just by way of example. But now game 33 is being held at 22:00.

Obviously FIFA has lots of input from TV partners and they also know which games have already sold many tickets, so they did a fair amount of playing around.

This is a very unusual world cup in that there are four games on each of the first 8 days. Usually they only play one game on the first day, so they can start at night and have their fireworks. But in this World Cup they are playing four games on the first day and I guess they decided that it wasn't really exciting to play the first game by the host country at 1:00 p.m. on a Monday.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Man, I want to take down England so badly. The takes I'm reading on club message boards are the worst - disdainful and dismissive of the competition but also completely pessimistic. "If England keep getting easy groups it'll make Southgate look too successful, and we'll never win anything." It's an amazing skill English supporters have.
Every cycle is the same for England. For 3 years and 10 months the press and fans there are the most negative, cynical bunch ever, then the month before the tournament everyone is convinced they are going to win it, followed by the mass depression after the inevitable penalty shootout loss.
 

teddykgb

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That's a pretty bad draw for the U.S. for the group, though it's potentially a nice draw for the octos if we should somehow win the group. Wales was one of the two pot 4 teams I really wanted to avoid (along with Peru) as they're playing more like a pot 2 team.
Why do you think it’s a bad draw? It’s impossible to say with the open ended nature of the 4th team but the US stands a legitimate chance against all of them. This US team isn’t good enough to be favored to get out of a group but I would be disappointed if they didn’t finish 2nd. You really think they can’t beat Wales?