Five days until the start of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, and England’s Three Lions are optimistic that “football can finally come home”. From November 20 to December 18, the biggest football event, the first in a Middle Eastern country and also the second in the Asian continent, will host 32 countries and more than 500 players and staff.
This team seems to be the most successful as well as the most unpredictable team in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. However, we think England will feel they are head and shoulders above the United States, Wales and Iran.
The United States, Wales and Iran are ranked 16th, 19th and 20th FIFArespectively, and they have enough talent to produce surprising results, especially if England’s top team doesn’t bring its A game to Doha.
England – Three Lions
A semi-final loss at the 2018 World Cup and another final against Italy at the Euros cast doubt on the Three Lions’ ability to win it all in Qatar. Although some players have been injured or lost form, the backbone of the team looks set to at least compete for another semi-final berth.
England’s Three Lions are the most successful team in this group, having won the trophy once, in 1966. This is their 16th World Cup appearance, and they will be looking to improve on their fourth place finish in 2018.
Gareth Southgate decided he needed James Maddison in the 26-man squad, and he could be decisive in the latter stages of the tournament.
FIFA Ranking: 5
Player to watch – Harry Kane
Kane is two goals short of Wayne Rooney’s record of 53. This record could be broken in the group stage as the captain attempts to lead his country to their first men’s international title since defeating them at home in 1966.
USA – Yanks
The United States’ best finish in soccer (soccer)’s biggest tournament was a quarterfinal appearance at the 2002 edition in Seoul. Twenty years later they are back in Asia, hoping the forecast is still good.
Gregg Berhalter, the US manager, has had a mixed relationship with the team’s supporters, with many believing he is not doing a good enough job with the wealth of young talent available. They have an exciting midfield with Brenden Aaronson, Giovanni Reyna and the experienced Weston McKennie, but their inexperienced striker could be Qatar’s Achilles heel.
FIFA Ranking: 16
Player to watch – Christian Pulisic
Pulisic remains the main talisman, and his lack of club appearances will force the US captain to give more than his usual 100% effort.
Wales – Dragons
They lost their last three Nations League A matches against Poland, Netherlands and Belgium. These defeats have sown doubts in the minds of their supporters, but Iran and the US lack the pedigree of losing countries. And they will naturally be inspired when they face England, giving them a chance to push on.
Robert Page’s team can make effort and hard work, but they lack the killer instinct and there’s just a lot of effort that can be achieved without real talent. Scoring will be crucial when they face the United States on November 21.
FIFA Ranking: 19
Player to watch – Gareth Bale
Bale is aware that this is his last appearance as Wales’ talisman and captain. The question is whether he is physically fit to lead the Dragons in Qatar. The form of the club has been disastrous, but the brilliance of playing with the national team has not disappeared.
Iran – Melli group
Iran appear to be the group’s pan-theater, but they could spring a surprise. Nobody is talking about Carlos Queiroz and his team of players. They can only hope to make themselves and their country proud, especially in their own continent. Iran has a powerful striker who will score goals.
ALSO READ: 2022 World Cup preview [Part 1]: Oranje looks good, Mane-less Senegal and Qatar look like South Africa
Although the team is mostly in the obscure European leagues and at home, the honest Queiroz has put together a team that is difficult to play against. They have conceded three goals in their last five games, two against Algeria and the third against fellow World Cup contenders Senegal.
The overall strategy will be to stay strong at the back and try to create chances for the recovering Taremi, Karim Ansarifard and Sardar Azmoun through Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Saman Ghoddos.
FIFA Ranking: 20
Player to watch
FC Porto’s Mehdi Taremi is an excellent and prolific striker and has already scored 13 goals in the league, cup and five in the UEFA Champions League this season.
Group B prediction
England and the United States are the favorites to progress to the next stage, while Iran and Wales are expected to be knocked out in the group stage.
These are just options. Based on history, the United States and England will play out another tie, or the Americans can defeat the Three Lions. It should be the most difficult game in the group.
Both the UK and the US hope to defeat Iran. Wales vs England is a very close derby, although England should win. Wales can show resilience against the USA and get a draw as a result.
England should finish first with seven or five points, with the other three in contention for second place. Matches against England could be crucial for the United States, Wales and Iran.
21 November 2022 England v Iran
21 November 2022 USA v Wales
25 November 2022 Wales v Iran
25 November 2022 England v USA
29 November 2022 Wales v England
November 29, 2022 Iran v USA
Accept PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. However, only good journalism can guarantee a good society, a responsible democracy and the possibility of a transparent government.
For free access to the best investigative journalism in the country, we ask that you make a modest contribution to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain journalism that matters and keep it free and accessible to all.
Text ad: Call Willie – +2348098788999