The World Cup is fast approaching and, for the first time this century, Wales will be there.
The Wales national team have qualified for the tournament for the first time in 64 years, and it promises to be a big domestic occasion. Robert Page’s side beat Ukraine in a play-off to secure passage and were drawn against England in the group stage, as they did at Euro 2016. On this occasion, England won the battle, but Wales topped the group and advanced further. can they do the same thing again?
Fans across Wales will be preparing for the tournament in every way possible. Usually, a big sporting event brings an official video game, and players are likely to enjoy football video games as part of their preparation for the tournament. There are many football games on the market, and there have been many over the years. Football has been a part of video gaming since the first Football Manager game in 1982, and since then titles have sprung up on mobiles as well as consoles. You don’t even take control of the action sometimes; there is a Gala Spins online slot machine titled 11 Champions which takes football as its premise but adapts it to a different genre. Hopefully Wales will have 11 champions at the end of the tournament, making the title relevant! Ronaldo Kick N’ Run is another mobile game that uses football in a different context that fans might enjoy.
Still, there’s nothing quite like picking up a controller and taking control of your favorite teams, and that’s probably how players warm up for the tournament. If you want your fix of football on home consoles but don’t know what to play, fear not. We’ve rounded up some football matches, past and present, that will give you the chance to simulate the World Cup and maybe win it for Wales before Robert Page’s side give it a shot in November.
FIFA 23 – Xbox Series/PS5
FIFA 23 is the latest installment in the long-running series; next year, EA Sports will release the game under a different name. This means this will be the last World Cup match piloted by EA Sports, ending a run that has been going on since 1998. Eurogamer explains how the game will have two licensed World Cups; the men from 2022 and the women in 2023. This will be the first game to feature Wales in the competition as standard, which will be special. The game creaks a bit under old code and needs an overhaul, but it still promises to be a decent sim.
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – Xbox 360/PS3/Wii
FIFA may have reigned supreme in the gaming world, but that hasn’t always been the case. The 2010 game, which you can still buy on eBay, brought EA Sports’ franchise back into the good books of gamers. Wales fans have nothing to fear; you can create your own final and have Jason Koumas, Rob Earnshaw and Joe Ledley participate in the tournament if you wish. With all ten official stadiums and a host of other World Cup touches, this title stands out as one of the best for a good World Cup warm-up session.
France 98 World Cup – Playstation/Nintendo 64
Wales were still going to struggle in 1998; the qualifying group they failed to emerge from also included the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey. Turkey, who failed to qualify, were semi-finalists four years later, underlining the scale of the task ahead of Bobby Gould. Still, if you want to warm up for the tournament, it’s a good title, even if you can’t play as Wales; the game features only qualified teams. However, there are some interesting modes, such as playing matches from previous World Cups in black and white, with Kenneth Wolstenholme as commentary. Wales fans will rejoice when they can make sure the 1966 final was over before full time by taking control of Germany and denying England the victory they have never been silent about!