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The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is upon us, albeit five months later than it usually comes. Despite the delay, we are now oh so close to the month of the greatest soccer in the world as the 32 biggest countries in the sport go at it for the coveted Jules Rimet trophy. For Americans, Group B is the pod the country will be watching, as the pool includes the USMNT, England, Iran, and Wales.

Group B kicks off on November 21 and features six matches that will include well-known players, historical and political rivalries, and at least one team that could win the 2022 World Cup.

With that as the backdrop, let’s take a look at what you need to know about Group B.

World Cup Group B Logistics: Who’s in the group, and when are the matches?

Before the 2022 World Cup knockout stage kicks off on December 3, Group B will play a round-robin tournament where each team plays the other once. Here are the dates that the USA, England, Iran, and Wales go at it:

  • England vs. Iran, November 21
  • USA vs. Wales, November 21
  • England vs. USA, November 25
  • Wales vs. Iran, November 25
  • USA vs. Iran, November 29
  • Wales vs. England, November 29

The teams get three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss. The top two teams with the most points at the end of the three matches will advance to the knockout rounds.

Now that we have the schedule of matches let’s look at the squads that make up Group B.

The USMNT has one of the youngest teams in the tournament and is looking to make a name for itself

The USMNT embarrassingly missed out on the 2018 World Cup and, since then, fully embraced a youth movement that should carry the team for years to come. However, in 2022, the USMNT will be one of (if not) the youngest in the tournament.

Another good sign for the future of American soccer — in addition to the youth — is the number of players playing for world-famous European clubs nowadays. The USMNT World Cup roster will include players like Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Matt Turner (Arsenal), and Sergiño Dest (AC Milan).

The USMNT is talented. It might be the most talented team the U.S. has ever had. However, there are several questions surrounding the team as they head to Qatar.

As talented as the team is, are they too young to make a run in the 2022 World Cup? While the midfield and forward groups are deep, can the USMNT overcome a suspect defense? Are manager Gregg Berhalter’s tactics good/modern enough to take advantage of the attacking talent?

On November 21, we’ll start to get the answer to these questions, although the answers Americans want to hear may not come until the 2026 World Cup here in North America.

Is football coming home to England finally?

For over 25 years, English fans have been singing about football coming home, yet the Three Lions haven’t hoisted a World Cup trophy since 1966.

That said, England is closer to hoisting the prestigious trophy than ever in 2022. A fourth-place finish at the 2018 World Cup and a second-place finish at UEFA Euro 2020 have England thinking this could finally be the year.

The team is packed with Premier League stars that any EPL fan (and even some casual fans) know well. Harry Kane (Tottenham), Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), and Harry Maguire (Manchester United) headline the team.

The Three Lions are a good mix of veterans in their prime and youngsters, so the 2022 World Cup isn’t this golden generation’s last chance, but it does feel like if England doesn’t win a trophy this year, the window might be closing quickly.

England is a supremely talented group, but there is also an intense amount of pressure on the group now, and players like Kane, Sterling, and Maguire haven’t done well under pressure at times in the past.

Iran’s toughest opponent may be its own government

Iran isn’t a world power by any means, but they’ve fought their way up to 20th in the FIFA World Rankings with players almost exclusively from the Iranian domestic league and a few who play in Qatar.

A big reason for the success is manager Carlos Queiroz. He did two stints as an assistant manager under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, with a head coaching gig at Real Madrid in between. In Spain, he led a team that included international superstars like Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luís Figo, and David Beckham.

After that, Queiroz led the Portugal national team through the 2010 World Cup. The team didn’t perform well, and the manager was sacked and suspended for doping violations shortly after the tournament.

As far as the current Iran team goes, several players are at odds with their government after joining protests following the death of a young woman named Mahsa Amini on September 16, per the New York Times. Players who have supported the protesters have been arrested, detained, and had their homes raided. Team Melli, as the team is locally known, is now reportedly under a gag order from the government heading to Qatar.

Iran will have enough problems on the field in Group B. Having to worry about what’s going on at home will make the World Cup even tougher.

Wales is a scrappy opponent no one wants to face

Wales had a tough row to hoe just to get to the 2022 World Cup. During the qualification process, the team lost its manager, Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs, under unfortunate circumstances. It was then the last team to qualify for the tournament, ending Ukraine’s Cinderella run.

The team has a lot of solid players, most of whom play in the first and second levels of English football. Some of the headline names include Daniel James (Fulham), Aaron Ramsey (Nice), Ben Davies (Tottenham), and Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forrest).

What sets Wales apart, though, is that they have a true superstar in Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger has had an up-and-down professional career at Tottenham and Real Madrid, but he’s always stepped up and been a leader with the Dragons.

Bale is now in MLS with LAFC and hasn’t played all that much top-level soccer in the last few seasons. Does Bale still have his Superman cape ticked somewhere under his kit? If so, Wales could give England and the U.S. trouble.

2022 World Cup Group B prediction: USMNT and England Advance

2022 World Cup Group B with Christian Pulisic (L) and Raheem Sterling.
L-R) Christian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling | Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images; Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

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England (5) and the U.S. (16) are the two highest-ranked teams in the group and should go through to the knockout stage. The team that loses their head-to-head battle on November 25 will have little room for error, though.  

There is a chance that Wales could upset either of the squads, but in the end, the prediction is that talent will win out. The final group B standings will be:

  1. England
  2. USA
  3. Wales
  4. Iran

There are the Group B predictions. Now let’s see what happens when the teams face off in Qatar.

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