Led by their talisman Gareth Bale, Wales will end a 64-year wait to play a World Cup in their debut against the United States on Monday, in a duel between two generations.
If Qatar-2022 may be their first and only World Cup for the leaders of the best Welsh team, the United States will present the most exciting batch of players in its history in society.
The duel will start at 2 00 p.m. Panama time (7:00 p.m. GMT) at the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium (40,000 spectators), where an important part of the aspirations of both teams in the complicated Group B may be at stake.
With less pressure from their fans, Wales wants to enjoy the high point of a golden age, in which this nation of three million people qualified for the last two Euros and reached the semi-finals in 2016.
Veterans like Aaron Ramsey or Joe Allen continue to be mainstays of the 'Dragons' but the undisputed emblem is Gareth Bale, always available for selection even in his great stages of inactivity like the current one.
The former Real Madrid player arrives in Qatar surrounded by cotton wool. With his new team, Los Angeles FC, he has played less than 200 minutes since September plagued by various physical problems.
Bale was absent in the MLS playoffs but, as he did several times with Real Madrid, he was once again the providential man in the final, leveling the score after extra time.
This ability to appear at the decisive moment is what Wales clings to dream of a path like that of Sweden-1958, their only World Cup so far, where they advanced to the quarterfinals.
The United States has taken good note of the danger that Bale poses even though he no longer has, at 33, the physical explosiveness of yesteryear.
"Everyone knows who he is. He's a super successful guy, who has won everything," his teammate Kellyn Acosta described to him, making it clear that they will use all the methods at their disposal to stop him.
"We know you have to limit his time and space. He's a dangerous player. We have to start kicking him a bit on the field, literally. Make him feel us. If you let him feel comfortable, it will hurt," the American midfielder advanced.