It won’t be easy for Wales against Iran, but we have to win – and we can learn from England to get the result we need.
I know we don’t have the same quality in our squad as England did, but the way they secured their 6-2 win must still be Rob Page’s model in Friday’s game.
I’m talking about the pace they set and how they moved the ball quickly, got it into wide areas and then delivered it into the box.
They kept putting the Iranian defense under pressure, asking them questions… and we saw what happened in the end.
We’ve got the players to do that too, but we’ll need the right formation to build attacks the way I want, and for me that means going to four at the back – again, exactly like England l ‘did.
Whatever Page’s plan, Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and – hopefully – Joe Allen will play crucial roles in making it work, but they’re all in their 30s now and they can’t do it alone.
So we have to choose people around them with energy to give us the intensity we need and it’s about having our brains in the middle of the pitch and our legs wide apart.
Brennan Johnson and Daniel James are young, fearless and hungry. Let’s be positive and let them run to the Iran defense to do some damage like Bukayo Saka did for Gareth Southgate’s side on Monday.
Iran’s plan could be different
It goes without saying that Kieffer Moore needs to start this game for Wales after his impact off the bench against USA, but we need to feed him more into the box this time, rather than just use him to make us get on the pitch, because he will score goals too.
Moore nearly equalized against USA when he headed in from a corner but we didn’t find him in front of goal with crosses in open play and that’s the kind of serve I want James and Johnson return it to him. time.
By the way, I don’t take Iran lightly here, and I certainly don’t expect this match to be easy just because England separated them.
Our task is clearer after the first set of games and our draw with the United States, but it’s really decisive for Iran after losing their first game so badly.
They will have seen how USA gave us problems in the first half and they could also come out and press high. Just because they didn’t try against England, in their toughest Group B game, doesn’t mean they won’t give it to us.
And, while they’re generally quite cautious under Carlos Queiroz and like to defend deep, they’re going to have to try and attack at some point.
They scored twice against England, remember, so they have a goal threat. If we continue they will come to us because another defeat and they will be eliminated.
Why fluid training is key
Whatever Iran tries to do, our aim must be to dominate possession against them like England did, and play the game in their own half.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the 3-5-2 formation we started with against USA will help us do that.
It’s not fluid whether we’re in possession or not, and our players don’t have enough options in different areas when getting on the ball – wingers, for example, don’t have anyone wide in front of them so they have to return the ball to a centre-half if a fast ball inside midfield is not activated.
So I would go with the same 4-4-2 form I hoped we would start the first game with, with Johnson and James moving forward to make it a 4-2-3-1 when we have the ball.
Then you have Neco Williams and Connor Roberts feeding them and also looking to overlap like Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier did for England. Suddenly we are a much more dangerous team.
The 4-4-2 also suits Ramsey
Playing in a 4-4-2 is also key to getting the most out of Aaron Ramsey. He didn’t have a great game against USA and gave away the ball more times than I’ve ever seen him before but he finally tried to find another way to affect the game and started to run past Moore to try to move. opposition players approx.
We really want him on the ball against Iran, or coming late into the box after Moore and Gareth Bale to finish those crosses I was talking about, because he’s the master of that.
Ideally, Ramsey would start his runs much deeper, in a similar position to Jude Bellingham for England, and we’ve seen how that worked out.
England’s 4-3-3 changed to a 4-2-3-1 as Bellingham advanced, and he scored his first goal in the same way we’ve seen Ramsey score so many times before.
I’m confident the players I’ve mentioned so far will perform well, but for this to all work out the way I want it to, we need Joe Allen as one of our men in midfield. We simply cannot control the game without it.
I spoke about his importance for the team in my column before the US game and although he is not fully fit yet, now is the time to risk it. Even if he can only play around 60 minutes, the bet is worth it.
We face England after that, and we really need to have four points before this game to have any chance of making it out of the group, so there’s no point in saving anyone now.
Let’s go, and give ourselves the best chance of beating Iran by picking the right players and picking a system that suits their strengths.
Danny Gabbidon was talking to Chris Bevan in Doha.