The USMNT will like their chances of advancing to the round of 16
The draw for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar took place with the USMNT placed in Group B alongside England, Iran and the winner of the European playoff, which could be Wales, Scotland or the Ukraine.
The reaction to the draw for the Americans has been rather positive as, on paper, the U.S. should progress to the next round.
Gregg Berhalter’s side will make their World Cup debut on Monday, Nov. 21 against the winner of the European playoff. Then they’ll face England on Nov. 25 before closing out the group against Iran on Nov. 29.
The standout fixture is going to be against England as in the eyes of many, it’s their group to lose.
"“It was amazing to get England in our group,” he said. “I think that’s a game that always has a lot of attention around it because of England and their fans and their established place in soccer.“And then we have Iran, which is a difficult opponent given they’ve finished first in their group of qualifying in Asia, the first Asian team to qualify after [hosts] Qatar, scored a lot of goals, dangerous team and then the unknown of Scotland, Wales or Ukraine. Scotland and Wales are pretty similar in terms of how they’re approaching the game. With Ukraine it’s completely different. So some challenges there but overall, positive. We’re looking forward to competing.”Source: ESPN"
It won’t be the first time these two teams meet in a World Cup. They faced one another in the 2020 World Cup in South Africa. The match ended in a 1-1- draw where everyone is sure to remember the error by the England keeper, Rob Green, in the Americans’ goal.
While everyone’s attention will be focused on England, the USMNT cannot overlook Iran. Like England, they also have history in FIFA’s premier tournament. They matched up in the group stage back in 1998 in the World Cup in France with Iran coming away with a 2-1 win.
Some USMNT supporters may be taking Iran lightly, but that isn’t the case with Berhalter.
“I’m a little bit nervous that the public or the media may take Iran lightly,” said Berhalter. “But it’s not a team to take lightly. It’s going be a good opponent.”
There will be a number of friendly fixtures, including a couple of Nations League matches, for the U.S. to use as a warm-up heading into the World Cup.
Barring any surprises, they should be good enough to at least finish second in the group. Whichever teams comes out of the European playoff may have a lot to say, especially if that team ends up being Wales.
If the USMNT top their group, they face the second place team from Group A. If they finish second, they face the group winner.