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2022 World Cup: Group B preview, teams, odds, more for USMNT’s quest for glory

USMNT World Cup Group B preview
FILE – U.S. forward Christian Pulisic, right, hands the ball to Haji Wright (19) prior to a penalty kick during the second half of the team’ international friendly soccer match against Morocco on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in Cincinnati. Tim Ream, Haji Wright, Joe Scally and Sean Johnson made the United States’ World Cup roster. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean, FIle)

What will the Stars and Stripes of the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) be up against when they take the pitch at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar next week? Let’s take a look with our Group B preview:

2022 World Cup Group B preview

England

Harry Kane
Tottenham’s Harry Kane gestures during the EFL Cup third round soccer match between Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur at the City Ground stadium in Nottingham, England, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
  • FIFA Rank: 5th
  • Qualification: UEFA Group I winners
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 15
  • Best finish: Champions (1966)
  • Odds to win group: -280
  • Odds to make knockout stage: -1200
  • Odds to win World Cup: +850

England has the horses to blow the doors of almost any team on the planet given its sheer amount of attacking options. However, major concerns exist toward the back line — particularly at the center back spot. It’s why manager Gareth Southgate exudes a more pragmatic strategy, which does take the fun at times away from the Three Lions.  

X-Factor: Harry Maguire, John Stones It’d be sensible to reserve this spot for the abundance of attacking stars England has: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Bukayo Saka — the list goes on. But the Manchester United defender Harry Maguire and his Manchester City counterpart John Stones has to find a new level to their game to help anchor an England backline that could only trot out three in a potential 3-4-3 formation.

England World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford Everton
Goalkeeper Nick Pope Newcastle United
Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale Arsenal
Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool
Defender Conor Coady Everton 
Defender Eric Dier Tottenham
Defender Harry Maguire Manchester United
Defender Luke Shaw Manchester United
Defender John Stones Manchester City
Defender Kieran Trippier Newcastle United
Defender Kyle Walker Manchester City
Defender Ben White Arsenal
Midfielder Jude Bellingham Borussia Dortmund
Midfielder Conor Gallagher Chelsea
Midfielder Jordan Henderson Liverpool
Midfielder Mason Mount Chelsea
Midfielder Kalvin Phillips Manchester City
Midfielder Declan Rice West Ham United
Forward James Maddison Leicester City
Forward Callum Wilson Newcastle United
Forward Phil Foden Manchester City
Forward Jack Grealish Manchester City
Forward Harry Kane Tottenham
Forward Marcus Rashford Manchester United
Forward Bukayo Saka Arsenal
Forward Raheem Sterling Chelsea

 

Iran

Mehdi Taremi Iran
FILE – Iran forward Mehdi Taremi celebrates after he scored first goal during the AFC Asian Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Iran and China at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 20th
  • Qualification: AFC Group A winner
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 5
  • Best finish: Group Stage (’78, ’98, ’06, ’14, ’18)
  • Odds to win group: +1600
  • Odds to make knockout stage: +350
  • Odds to win World Cup: +50000

Especially in this group of heavy hitters, Iran’s system of defense first will be their only hope in Qatar to break the streak of group-stage exits. The re-introduction of manager Carlos Queiroz, formerly of Real Madrid, will provide a boost to the team’s hopes. 

X-Factor: Mehdi Taremi Taremi will carry most of the pressure of Iran’s attacking hopes — and rightfully so. The striker has been a mainstay for the famous Portuguese club, FC Porto, and has had three straight seasons of 20 or more goals. He’ll be flanked by long-time wingers in Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Sardar Azmoun to provide plenty of familiarity for Team Melli. 

Iran World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand Persepolis
Goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini Esteghlal
Goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh Ponferradina
Goalkeeper Payam Niazmand Sepahan
Defender Ehsan Hajsafi AEK Athens
Defender Morteza pouraliganji Persepolis
Defender Ramin Rezaeian Sepahan
Defender Milad Mohammadi AEK Athens
Defender Shojae Khalilzadeh Al-Ahli
Defender Hossein Kanaanizadegan Al-Ahli
Defender Sadegh Moharrami Dinamo Zagreb
Defender Majid Hosseini Kayserispor
Defender Rouzbeh Cheshmi Esteghlal
Defender Abolfazi Jalali Esteghlal
Midfielder Vahid Amiri Persepolis
Midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi Vejle
Midfielder Mehdi Torabi Persepolis
Midfielder Saman Ghoddos Brentford
Midfielder Ali Gholizadeh Charleroi
Midfielder Ahmad Nourollahi Shabab Al Ahli
Midfielder Ali Karimi Kayserispor
Forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh Feyenoord
Forward Mehdi Taremi FC Porto
Forward Karim Ansarifard Omonia
Forward Sardar Azmoun Bayer Leverkusen

 

United States

USMNT World Cup roster
FILE – United States Tyler Adams, left, and United States Joshua Sargent, right, playing during the international friendly soccer match between USA and Japan as part of the Kirin Challenge Cup in Duesseldorf, Germany, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 16th
  • Qualification: 3rd place in CONCACAF qualifiers
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 10
  • Best finish: Semifinals (1930)
  • Odds to win group: +500
  • Odds to make knockout stage: -105
  • Odds to win World Cup: +13000

The USMNT is back at the World Cup after its shocking hiatus in 2018. Gregg Berhalter has brought a youthful, exuberant side with him to Qatar in what hopes to be the dawning of a new age in American soccer. There’s an abundance of talent out on the wings in both the midfield and defense to help institute a pressing style of play. It will be fast, potentially fun, and could make a bit of noise out of Group B. 

X-Factor: Christian Pulisic It’s always going to come down to Pulisic, who was the poster child of USMNT’s youthful revolution four years ago. The Chelsea star will be the main attacking threat on the outside of the forward line, but he’s expected to receive plenty of support behind him on the same side from the likes of Valencia’s Yunus Musah and Fulham’s Antonee Robinson.

United States World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson NYCFC
Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath Luton Town
Goalkeeper Matt Turner Arsenal
Defender Cameron Carter-Vickers Celtic
Defender Sergińo Dest AC Milan
Defender Aaron Long NY Red Bulls
Defender Shaq Moore Nashville SC
Defender Tim Ream Fulham
Defender Antonee Robinson Fulham
Defender Joe Scally Borussia Mönchengladbach
Defender DeAndre Yedlin Inter Milan
Defender Walker Zimmerman Nashville SC
Midfielder Brenden Aaronson Leeds United
Midfielder Kellyn Acosta LAFC
Midfielder Tyler Adams Leeds United
Midfielder Luca De La Torre Celta Vigo
Midfielder Weston McKennie Juventus
Midfielder Yunus Musah Valencia
Midfielder Cristian Roldan Seattle Sounders
Forward Jesús Ferreira FC Dallas
Forward Jordan Morris Seattle Sounders
Forward Christian Pulisic Chelsea
Forward Gio Reyna Borussia Dortmund
Forward Josh Sargent Norwich City
Forward Tim Weah Lille
Forward Haji Wright Antalyaspor

 

Wales

Gareth Bale
FILE – Wales’ Gareth Bale reacts after the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Wales and Poland at the Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 19th
  • Qualification: Defeated Ukraine in UEFA play-off
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 1
  • Best finish: Quarterfinals (1958)
  • Odds to win group: +500
  • Odds to make knockout stage: +100
  • Odds to win World Cup: +20000

Wales is another team that is going to rely on the counter-attack given their lack of attacking depth. But a passionate side with an incredible work rate will be a tough out for the likes of England and USMNT, especially considering the former is a traditional, ancient rival of the Dragons.

X-Factor: Gareth Bale The most famous and successful Welsh soccer player ever, Bale is facing the mortality of a playing career that is now at LAFC — though there has always been rumors of him signing with the MLS side just to keep his fitness for the World Cup. The 33-year-old once starred at Tottenham before experiencing a rollercoaster of a stint at Real Madrid, but there is no denying Bale’s brilliance.

Wales World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey Nottingham Forest
Goalkeeper Danny Ward Leicester City
Goalkeeper Adam Davies Stoke 
Defender Ben Davies Tottenham
Defender Joe Rodon Rennes
Defender Ben Cabango Swansea City
Defender Chris Mepham Bournemouth
Defender Chris Gunter AFC Wimbledon
Defender Connor Roberts Burnley
Defender Neco Williams Nottingham Forest
Defender Ethan Ampadu Spezia
Defender Tom Lockyer Luton Town
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey Nice
Midfielder Joe Allen Swansea City
Midfielder Harry Wilson Fulham
Midfielder Joe Morrell  Portsmouth
Midfielder Matthew Smith MK Dons
Midfielder Dylan Levitt Dundee United
Midfielder Sorba Thomas Huddersfield
Midfielder Rubin Colwill Cardiff City
Midfielder Jonny Williams Swindon Town
Forward Gareth Bale LAFC
Forward Mark Harris Cardiff City
Forward Kieffer Moore Bournemouth
Forward Daniel James Fulham
Forward Brennan Johnson Nottingham Forest

*Odds courtesy of DraftKings

 

2022 World Cup Group B schedule

Date Match Time TV
Monday, Nov. 21 England v. Iran 8 AM FS1
Monday, Nov. 21 United States v. Wales 2 PM FOX
Friday, Nov. 25 Wales vs. Iran 5 AM FS1
Friday, Nov. 25 England vs. United States 2 PM FOX
Tuesday, Nov. 29 Wales vs. England 2 PM FS1
Tuesday, Nov. 29 Iran vs. United States 2 PM FOX

For more on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, visit AMNY.com

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