World Cup 2022 Team Guides, Group B: England, Iran, United States, Wales

Nobody calls it the Death Group. Maybe they should – it’s the only one in which all four teams are ranked in the FIFA Top 20.

Here is an overview of the four teams:

ENGLAND

Coach: Gareth Southgate

Highest finish: Winner (1966)

Finish 2018: Fourth

FOX betting odds: +750

Key players: Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Harry Kane

What we’re excited to watch: England enter the tournament on a six-game losing streak. Will his poor form continue in Qatar?

What success looks like: A first final appearance since 1966 would be a triumph even if anything less than a title will be seen as a failure by ever-unrealistic English fans and media.

Achilles’ heel: Penalties. Even though England won a tiebreaker in 2018 for the first time at a World Cup, they remain 2-7 all-time in shootout at major tournaments, including the home defeat in the last year against Italy in the final of the European Championship.

X factor: Kane. A Golden Boot winner in 2018, his goals can mask many of the Three Lions’ shortcomings.

Three things you need to know about England

Three things you need to know about England

Alexi Lalas breaks down three things we need to know about England ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

IRAN

Coach: Carlos Queiroz

Highest finish: Group stage (1930)

Finish 2018: Group stage

FOX betting odds: +75000

Key players: Sardar Azmoun, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Mehdi Taremi

What we’re excited to watch: The group final between Iran and USA. Not only is it a rematch of the 1998 encounter between longtime political adversaries (a game The Meli team won), it could determine which nation advances to the second round.

What success looks like: The answer is obvious for a team that hasn’t survived the group stage in the previous five tries.

Achilles’ heel: Themselves. Iran have a long history of implosion at the World Cup, which is part of why this football-loving nation filled with natural talent has never made it past the first round.

X factor: Queiroz. Iran sacked former coach Dragan Skocic just four months before Qatar 2022 and replaced him with the Portuguese manager, who previously led the Melli team from 2011 to 2019. That’s a risk; Queiroz has lost his last two national team jobs, with Egypt and Colombia.

Three things to know about Iran

Three things to know about Iran

Alexi Lalas breaks down three things we need to know about Iran ahead of the 2022 World Cup. The list includes Iran’s third consecutive World Cup appearance Sardar Azmoun and their game against the United States.

Learn more about the world Cup:

UNITED STATES

Coach: Gregg Berhalter

Highest finish: Third (1930)

Finish 2018: Did not qualify

FOX betting odds: +20000

Key players: Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic

What we’re excited to watch: The youngest team in the tournament get their first real test against elite opposition, and they arrive on the biggest stage there is.

What a success looks As: Just getting out of a group that FIFA ranks is the toughest at this World Cup, while the bare minimum, would also be acceptable after failing to qualify four years ago. Nothing more is gravy.

Achilles’ heel: Striker. Despite all their skill at full-back, midfield and on the wings, none of the centre-forwards on the list have a proven ability to score goals at the top level.

X factor: Gio Reina. Finally healthy again after missing almost a full year due to leg injuries, the talented 20-year-old (as of November 13) Borussia Dortmund the striker has enough talent to be America’s star at the World Cup.

[USMNT World Cup 2022 roster reveal: Legit snubs and surprises]

Three things to know about the United States

Three things to know about the United States

Alexi Lalas breaks down three things we need to know about USA ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

WALES

Coach: Rob Page

Highest finish: Quarter-finals (1958)

Finish 2018: Did not qualify

FOX betting odds: +25000

Key players: Gareth Bale, wayne hennessy, Daniel James

What we’re excited to watch: It’s been 58 years since the Welsh made their only World Cup appearance, so just seeing them on the biggest stage is a novelty. As important as their opener against the United States is, the game against England is Wales’ World Cup final.

What success looks like: Just being there is already a success, which takes some pressure off them. While England are clear favorites to win the group, claiming second place is achievable as little separates Wales from the United States or Iran.

Achilles’ heel: Goalkeeper. While Hennessey was in the win over Ukraine in June, he will be rusty in the main event. The 35-year-old hasn’t played a single minute in the Premier League this season for Nottingham Forest.

X factor: Ball. There’s a reason Bale has won five Champions League titles, scoring the winning goal for Real Madrid in two of them. It is a legitimate difference maker at the highest level. As a long-serving Welsh captain, the 33-year-old – if healthy enough – will be motivated to put his country on the back foot in front of a global audience.

Three things you need to know about Wales

Three things you need to know about Wales

Alexi Lalas breaks down three things we need to know about Wales ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Doug McIntyre is a football writer for FOX Sports. Prior to joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer at ESPN and Yahoo Sports and covered the United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.


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