We have created our very own parlay, covering England vs Iran, Senegal vs the Netherlands, and the USA vs Wales. Read on to discover which selections we would make for the games on day two of the tournament.
The odds for November 21 are from the FanDuel sportsbook, where a $1000 no sweat first bet is available to new customers.
England will be expected to make light work of Iran in the first game on Monday, and they should indeed pick up all three points at the Khalifa International Stadium. But Iran will make life as difficult as possible for Gareth Southgate’s side.
Carlos Queiroz returned for a second spell in charge of Team Melli in September, after Dragan Skocic was unceremoniously ditched despite leading the national team through the qualification process. Some players were unhappy to see Skocic replaced on the eve of the tournament, but it is hard to argue with Queiroz’s track record.
With the former Manchester United assistant manager at the helm, Iran will be strong defensively. They will line up in a compact 4-4-2 formation and focus on disrupting the opposition’s play.
This side contains talented attackers in Mehdi Taremi and Sardar Azmoun, but it remains to be seen whether Iran can get high enough up the pitch to cause England problems. The Three Lions’ defense is their weak point, but a clean sheet on Monday would boost confidence within the camp.
After a disappointing showing at last summer’s European Championship with Frank de Boer at the helm, the Netherlands have rebuilt impressively under Louis van Gaal, who is in his third spell in charge of the three-time World Cup runners-up.
The Dutch have a starting XI that should be able to compete with any team in the competition. There is plenty of excitement about a fluid frontline, which will probably feature Cody Gakpo in behind Memphis Depay and Steven Bergwijn in a 3-4-1-2 formation.
Senegal are a tough nut to crack, though. On their way to glory at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, they kept a clean sheet in five of their seven matches.
However, star center-back Kalidou Koulibaly has been in and out of the Chelsea team of late, while the speed, skill, and movement of the Netherlands attack could drag him and his defensive colleagues out of position.
The Dutch will look to make a quick start and a half-time lead is a distinct possibility in this game at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha.
The USA only narrowly avoided entering the inter-confederation play-offs in the CONCACAF region, but the most important thing is that they made it to Qatar. Missing out on back-to-back World Cups would have been a major blow to American soccer.
Wales are back on the world stage for the first time since 1958, after Gareth Bale inspired them to victories over Austria and Ukraine in the European play-offs. Even at the age of 33, Bale is by far and away Wales’ most important player.
The former Real Madrid forward has the ability to make something happen out of nothing, and that could be pivotal this winter. With Bale in the team, we fancy Wales to score on Monday - even if he is not necessarily the man who gets the goal.
There are bigger doubts over the USA’s frontline, which lacks a natural goalscorer. But Gregg Berhalter’s side can create chances through their high-tempo, high-intensity style, which will be easier to put into play in an evening game in Qatar than an afternoon one. Both teams to score could be an astute selection here.
Dates: November 20 - December 18
How to Watch: Fox Sports, Telemundo, fuboTV
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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