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USA At The World Cup

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USA At The World Cup: Everything You Need To Know

The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks-off this Sunday in Qatar and after missing out on World Cup 2018 in Russia, the USMNT makes a triumphant return to the biggest stage. This will be the first ever WC tournament taking place at this time of the year which adds an interesting twist. As we get closer to kick-off, let’s take a closer look at what we can expect from the Americans as they play in their first World Cup since 2014.

The Fixtures

The United States find themselves in Group B alongside Wales, Iran and England, in what is a very balanced group with all 4 teams being in the Top 20 in the latest FIFA Rankings.

List of USMNT fixtures at the World Cup:

  • Nov. 21 vs. Wales - 2 pm ET
  • Nov. 25 vs. England - 2 pm ET
  • Nov. 29 vs. Iran - 2 pm ET

Gregg Berhalter’s men start their campaign against Wales on Nov 21st in what could be a game that decides who advances from the group alongside title-contenders England. The Welsh golden generation has qualified for only the 2nd time since the 1958 World Cup and at the age of 33, time is running out for their superstar Gareth Bale who could be playing his last World Cup here. Already the team’s all-time leading scorer, Bale has led Wales to a semi-final berth at EURO 2016, as well as the round of 16 at EURO 2020, so the fans back home are optimistic this team can at least qualify from the Group Stage.

After the game against Wales, the USA take on group favorites England in what is going to be the hardest match by far in the Group Stage. England just finished as runners-up at EURO 2020 and most oddsmakers have them currently at 8/1 to win the whole thing, with only 4 teams ahead of them. These two teams played a total of 11 times with England winning 8 matches, 1 of them finished in a draw and the United States triumphing on two occasions. The last time USA beat England in a competitive game was way back in 1993, a 2-0 victory at the US Cup. In the most recent meeting between the two teams England won 3-0 in a Friendly match back in November of 2018.

The 3rd and final match of the group stage will be played against Iran on Nov 29th. Surprisingly enough, the United States has never beaten Iran in a competitive match. The two teams played each other twice, Iran won 2-1 at the World Cup 1998, while 2 years later the two teams played a Friendly which ended in a 1-1 draw. Although Iran lacks the star power of England and Wales, the US team shouldn’t take this game lightly. They are ranked only 4 spots below USA in the latest FIFA rankings, which just shows how good of a team they have. You can get USA to win at Even odds to beat Iran in the 3rd match of the group stage.

Key Players

After veterans such as Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey said their goodbye to the national team, the USA will rely on younger talented players this time around, in hopes of building a solid team for the 2026 World Cup which they will host alongside Canada and Mexico. The average age of the USMNT is roughly 25-years old, and it all starts and ends with Christian Pulisic.

The talented 24-year-old Chelsea player has played 52 times for USA and has 21 goals to his name. He makes his World Cup debut, which is the case with most players on the USA roster after the team failed to qualify for the tournament four years ago. After winning the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup with the London side, Pulisic is hoping to lead the USA team past the Group stage for the first time since 2014.

Other notable players on the USA team include Weston McKennie (Juventus), Sergiño Dest (AC Milan) and Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), all of which are under the age of 25 and play at the highest level in Europe. A total of 9 MLS players also made the team, which is encouraging news for the development of soccer across the country.
Another player that needs to be highlighted is FC Dallas forward Jesús Ferreira who has scored 18 goals in 35 league matches this year. He leads the USMNT with 6 goals scored in 10 matches played in 2022 so far.

Chances Of Getting To Knockout Phase

At -350 odds England are clear favorites to win Group B, the oddsmakers have the US just ahead of Wales at +550 to advance as group winners. When it comes to betting on USA to reach the knockout phase (meaning they will finish either 1st or 2nd in the group) then you can get odds of +100 which means you double your money if the bet lands.

It’s pretty clear that getting a result in the group stage opener against Wales will be crucial for advancing to the knock-out stage. USA has a positive track record against Wales in two games played, however in the most recent match between the two nations played in November 2020 neither team could score a goal. More often than not teams require at least 4 points in order to advance from the Group Stage, a win over Wales and a draw against Iran would almost certainly see USA advance, with the game against England on Black Friday resulting in a loss (worst case scenario).

If the US make it out of the group they will face either the 1st or 2nd ranked team from Group A which has Qatar, the Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador. Group B winner takes on runner-up in Group A and vice-versa. But, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. The US first needs to get off to a winning start against Wales and after that we can dream about bigger things.