The USMNT begins their World Cup campaign today with a match against Wales. The USA is in a challenging group with England, Iran, and Wales. It will be difficult just to get out of this group. With that said, let’s get into the USA preview for the 2022 World Cup.
USA Preview: The Other Teams in the Group
The USA is grouped together with England, Wales, and Iran in Group B of the 2022 World Cup. Therefore, it is a good idea to discuss the other teams in the group. We will start with England, who are the strongest team in Group B on paper and got a 6-2 win against Iran in their opening match of the tournament.
As is typically the case, England have a strong team in this year’s tournament. Their starting eleven against Iran consisted of Jordan Pickford, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Kieran Tripper, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, and their captain, Harry Kane. Despite the youth of many of its players, this team still contains quite a few players who made it to the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of the most recent European Championship in 2021.
Because of this fact, I would expect England to win Group B, barring any major injuries or upsets. Southgate is an experienced international manager with enormous talent at his disposal and England will likely be too strong for its fellow Group B members.
Wales is another team with some excellent players, most notably its captain, Gareth Bale. While Bale has had a few rocky seasons with Real Madrid in recent years, he consistently performs well when playing for his country. Bale has won every major trophy with Real Madrid at club level and powered Wales through the World Cup qualifiers as expected.
Aside from Bale, Wales can boast the likes of Harry Wilson, Daniel James, Aaron Ramsey and others. Wayne Hennessey is also a good goalkeeper and will not be easy for the USA to beat. Given their overall strength, Wales are likely to be the USA’s main competitor for a second-place finish in Group B.
USA Preview: Iran
While not as strong on paper as either England or Wales, Iran is unlikely to be a push-over, either. England beat them in a resounding 6-2 win, but Iran did quite well in World Cup qualifying and even managed a few draws in friendly matches against Senegal and Canada. Taremi Medhi is probably their most well-known player and he plays for Porto in the Portuguese league at club level. Alireza Jahanbaksh plays for Feyenoord at club level and can be a dangerous attacking midfielder.
However, I would expect Iran to finish last in Group B. England already demonstrated their superior quality to Iran and Wales and the USA are likely to do the same. Still, the USA will have to ensure they don’t get complacent against an Iran side who could catch them off-guard.
Expectations for the USA at the 2022 World Cup
Given the strength of the group, some have limited expectations for the USA at this tournament. However, I do expect the USA to make it out of the group stage, albeit via a second-place finish in Group B. Beyond that, it is difficult to say and largely depends on the opponents the USA faces after the group stage.
The USA Faces Wales Today
The USA plays Wales today in a high-stakes match. Given England’s strength, the matches against Iran and Wales are essentially must-win matches for the USMNT. Hopefully, the USA approaches these matches with the same attitude and wins them both. You could bet on the USA making it out of the group stage if you’re feeling confident.
Check back next week for more content about the 2022 World Cup.