We’re hurtling towards the start of the World Cup, and fans will be itching to sink their teeth into another footballing extravaganza. 32 teams will set their sights on glory in Qatar, and the opening stage will be split into eight groups of four. The top two from each group will punch their ticket to the knockout stages, with the World Cup Final taking place on December 18 in the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
An intro to the World Cup
Qatar has courted a lot of controversy and attracted negative headlines over staging the World Cup, which is mainly down to their dismal human rights record. However, FIFA and all those connected to the game will be hoping that the World Cup is talked about for the right reasons. There are bound to be plenty of surprises and fascinating subplots, but in this guide, we will draw attention to one of the tournament’s dark horses — the USA — and give the lowdown on what you should know about them.
USA World Cup 2022 Group Matches
The USA has been pitted in Group B alongside England, Wales, and Iran. We have shared the kick-off times below along with venue details:
- Monday, November 21: USA v Wales (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan)
- Friday, November 25: England v USA (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor)
- Tuesday, November 29: Iran v USA (Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor)
USA and their World Cup record
Qatar will mark the USA’s 11th appearance at the World Cup Finals. Although they caught the eye at the 2014 edition where they reached the last 16 before bowing out to Belgium in overtime, they suffered the ignominy of missing out four years ago in Russia, and so they will be desperate to make up for lost time.
The maiden World Cup in 1930 was the furthest the Stars and Stripes have gone, reaching the semi-finals. However, in 2002, they made it to the last eight and they gave Germany a huge scare before slipping to a 1-0 defeat. England will represent a familiar foe for the USA and the two will renew hostilities once again in Qatar. At the 2010 World Cup, the USA claimed a 1-1 draw after a Clint Dempsey equalizer canceled out Steven Gerrard’s early strike.
USA World Cup 2022: Players to watch out for
Arguably, the USA has a Golden Generation of talent, albeit injuries have struck at the wrong time in recent months. Here is who you should pay close attention to:
Key Player – Christian Pulisic
Already the most decorated American player of all time with a Champions League title and FIFA Club World Cup winner’s medal under his belt at Chelsea, Pulisic is the driving force behind the USA’s offense. He is dynamic, and boasts plenty of creativity too, so he could be in for a big World Cup. Pulisic’s leadership skills have also been evident and he is the go-to player if the team is in trouble.
Also, with 21 goals to his name from 52 appearances for the USA, he has a pretty stealthy record for his national teams.
One to watch out for – Sergino Dest
Sergino Dest could also be central to the USA’s hopes of progression. The 21-year-old right-back, who is poised to make his debut at the World Cup, is on loan at AC Milan this term. Aside from having pace to burn and being an excellent attacking outlet, Dest reads the game well, so he won’t get caught out too often. He is certainly one player that USA fans should be excited about.
Gregg Berhalter and USA World Cup tactics
Gregg Berhalter will be patrolling the touchline and he will be trying to manage expectations. Under Berhalter, the USA have been more cavalier in their approach, and he favors a 3-4-3 formation which gives wingbacks Dest and Antonee Robinson a license to attack. The USA likes to press high up the pitch and hound the ball in packs which can force the opposition into mistakes.
More interestingly, pay close attention to any changes Berhalter makes. The 49-year-old isn’t afraid to shake things up where needs be and he could make some early substitutions, such as bringing on Timothy Weah to stretch teams.
USA World Cup squad and roster projections
It was originally thought that the World Cup squads of teams would consist of 23 players, but this has been expanded to 26. Berhalter has until November 13 to submit his official list to 13, but there could be a few experienced campaigners discarded, and naturally, he will have to think about team chemistry. Below is an idea of what Berhalter’s potential starting XI might look like:
Zack Steffen, Sergino Dest, Antonee Robinson, Walker Zimmerman, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Brenden Aaronson, Yunus Musah, Christian Pulisic, Timothy Weah, Jesus Ferreira
All the goals from the qualifications can be seen below.
World Cup 2022 – The Groups
USA World Cup 2022 Prediction
Group B appears to be rather tasty, although Iran is the weakest link. The biggest challenge to the USA will be England, however, the Three Lions will be widely expected to top the group. The USA will fancy their chances of reaching the last 16 and their showdown with Wales will determine whether they can prolong their World Cup adventure.
There will be a groundswell of support from the top US online betting sites for the USA to match their exploits of 2014. However, should the USA finish runners-up in Group B, they will be on a collision course with the Netherlands in the knockout stages which could prove to be a step too far.