Alexi Lalas says expectations should be high for USMNT at World Cup 2022

The United States men’s national team is not one of the favorites to win the 2022 World Cup, in part because it has by far the youngest roster on the board with an average age under 24 years old. But FOX Soccer analyst and former USMNT star Alexi Lalas doesn’t think that should stop fans from having high expectations for the group that will take part in the global tournament, which kicks off on FOX Qatar on November 20.

“I’m afraid there’s a dumbing down and lowering of expectations when it comes to this group – as we know, the youngest team going to the [2022] World Cup,” Lalas said after the USMNT roster was announced on Wednesday. “But, again, this is a generation that got it all. From an early age, they were basically fed to be right now. Therefore, we should expect more for this team.”

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Alexi Lalas, Stu Holden and David Mosse discuss the best scenario for the USMNT at the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup. How far can they go?

FOX Soccer analyst Stu Holden pointed out that when the United States last sent a men’s soccer team to the World Cup in 2014, Lalas publicly predicted the team would not come out of the match. group stage. The USMNT proved Lalas wrong that year and moved past the group stage before losing to Belgium in their first game of the knockout stage. This time around, however, Lalas, along with Holden and co-host David Mosse, predicts the USMNT will “absolutely” make it out of the group stage.

“Getting to a World Cup, from a men’s perspective, we’ve done that many times,” Lalas said. “Coming out of a group, from a men’s perspective, we’ve done that many times. We should expect this team, even with the debates we have about who is [on and off the roster]it is to be expected that these 26 nominees will absolutely find a way out [of the group stage].”

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The United States are in Group B of the 2022 World Cup along with England, Wales and Iran. The top two teams from each of the eight groups advance to the Round of 16, and Lalas thinks the USMNT shouldn’t have too much trouble finding themselves in the top half of their group when the dust settles.

“We are better than Wales. We are better than Iran. That’s six points,” Lalas said. “Don’t let them get away with it just because they’re young, and don’t let them get away with it because we’re just looking towards 2026. They should do well in this World Cup, which comes out of the group, then you try your luck.”

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The State of the Union host went on to say that just because the 2026 World Cup will be played partly on American soil doesn’t mean USMNT fans should gloss over what what will become of the 2022 World Cup squad.

“Whatever happens in 2026, I think it depends on what happens in 2022,” Lalas said. “I think [USMNT coach] Gregg Berhalter understands this. I think this group understands that.”

The USMNT kicks off group play in Qatar against Wales at 2 p.m. ET November 21 on FOX.

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