The USA are ready to take part in their 11th edition of the World Cup in Qatar
Gregg Berhalter’s side will take on Wales, England, and Iran in Group B this winter
The USA are desperate to make an impression after missing out on World Cup 2018
Gregg Berhalter’s side will begin their campaign against Wales on Monday, before meetings with England on November 25 and Iran on November 29.
We have previewed the USA’s chances in Qatar, picking out the best odds and providing all the key information you need as the national team returns to the world stage after missing out on Russia 2018.
The best online sportsbooks believe the most likely outcome for the USA is group-stage elimination. Drawn alongside England, Wales, and Iran in Group B, Berhalter’s boys will probably need at least four points to stand a chance of making it through to the knockout phase of World Cup 2022.
If they do make it out of the group, the USA will face one of Qatar, Senegal, Ecuador, or the Netherlands in the round of 16. Odds of +700 on a quarter-final berth show that the USA are among the outsiders at this tournament.
This is a crucial match for the USA, whose chances of progressing to the round of 16 would take a major hit if they are defeated by Wales.
On the other hand, a victory here would leave the USMNT in a strong position after matchday one. Berhalter’s side start as narrow favorites.
Bear in mind that the odds for this game (as well as Iran vs USA) could change between now and kick-off. England will be the favorites whatever happens on matchday one, but it is worth remembering that the USMNT held the Three Lions to a draw at World Cup 2010.
Picking up a point against England at the Al Bayt Stadium would be an excellent result for Berhalter’s team.
In a match with strong geopolitical undertones, the USA will expect to beat Iran in their third group game.
Team Melli should not be underestimated, however. Carlos Queiroz’s side defend doggedly and are tough to break down, while in Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi they have two quality attackers up top.
Christian Pulisic is the sportsbooks’ favorite to be the USA’s top scorer in Qatar. Jesus Ferreira and Josh Sargent are the candidates to start at No.9, but neither is known to be a prolific goal-getter, even if Ferreira has a decent record at the international level.
As for the likes of Timothy Weah, Haji Wright, and Gio Reyna, there are doubts over the amount of game time they will get in Qatar. Pulisic is the obvious pick but also the most sensible one.
Despite a lack of game time for Premier League side Chelsea, Christian Pulisic is still the talisman of this team. The 24-year-old will start on the left wing with a license to drift inside onto his stronger right foot, with Antonee Robinson encouraged to make overlapping runs outside of him.
Each member of the energetic midfield trio- Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams, and Weston McKennie - will set the tempo of the side’s high-tempo, high-energy style. Musah is perhaps less known than Adams and McKennie outside of the USA, but the 19-year-old is a fantastic talent.
At the back, Walker Zimmerman is a vocal organizer whose experience will be vital in such a pressurized environment.
The United States are likely to line up in a 4-3-3 formation in Qatar. Here is our predicted starting XI for the opening game against Wales.
Goalkeeper: Matt Turner.
Defense: Sergino Dest, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, Antonee Robinson.
Midfield: Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie.
Offense: Brenden Aaronson, Jesus Ferreira, Christian Pulisic.
The USA made their World Cup debut in the inaugural edition of 1930. Victories over Belgium and Paraguay earned them a spot in the semi-finals, which remains the furthest they have ever gone in the tournament.
First-round exits followed in 1934 and 1950, although the USA did famously beat England in the latter competition. A four-decade hiatus then ensued, before the Stars and Stripes returned to the World Cup in 1990.
Four years later they were the host nation and made it through to the round of 16, while in 2002 the USA upset the odds to reach the quarter-final. World Cup 2022 is the 11th of competition they have qualified for.
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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