The United States’ group consists of England, Iran and the winner of the European playoff, Wales.
Rounding out the top tier of contenders are England, two-time champion France, Spain and Argentina. The United States is further down the list, with its odds to win the World Cup being listed at +10000 (bet $10 to win $1,010).
FOX Sports soccer writer Doug McIntyre shared his thoughts on the USMNT’s group after the draw.
“It’s a manageable group for the United States. England is the favorite, but the Americans know their players and match up well against them. They also won’t have any fear at all; that might not have been the case had they drawn another Pot 1 side like Belgium or Brazil.
“Iran is better than many think — they beat the USMNT at the 1998 World Cup, their only previous meeting — but Gregg Berhalter’s squad could’ve done a lot worse, especially for what could be a pivotal group stage finale. Then there’s the unknown of Wales … in the opening match on Nov. 21. But the U.S. is still probably favored against any of those teams. Plus, facing a U.K. opponent, such as the Scots or the Welsh, would be the best preparation possible for that marquee second game versus England (which, by the way, failed to beat the Yanks in two previous World Cup meetings).”
Here is the USMNT’s Group B schedule in Qatar:
Nov. 21, 2 p.m. ET, vs. Wales, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Nov. 25, 2 p.m. ET, vs. England. Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Nov. 29, 2 p.m. ET, vs. Iran, Al Thumama Stadium
If the Americans do get out of their group, what needs to happen for them to win it all?
McIntyre said the United States must find a player or two who can consistently put the ball in the back of the net for that to happen. Yes, Christian Pulisic recorded a hat trick against Panama in a World Cup qualifying match, but the team will need more scoring to beat the world’s best.
“There’s still a glaring hole at striker,” McIntyre stated. “The U.S. has gotten goals from its fullbacks, central defenders and wingers. That’s great. But teams that make deep World Cup runs usually have an elite specialist up top who can convert his chances, which don’t come often at the highest level. The Americans have eight months to find one.”
For background, here are the previous 10 finalists of the World Cup (host country in parentheses):
2018 (Russia) France over Croatia
2014 (Brazil) Germany over Argentina
2010 (South Africa) Spain over Netherlands
2006 (Germany) Italy over France
2002 (South Korea/Japan) Brazil over Germany
1998 (France) France over Brazil
1994 (United States) Brazil over Italy
1990 (Italy) West Germany over Argentina
1986 (Mexico) Argentina over West Germany
1982 (Spain) Italy over West Germany
And here are the countries who have won World Cups:
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