What can the USA expect at the 2022 World Cup?

The United States have been handed a tough draw in their 2022 World Cup group in Qatar in their bid to reach the knockout stage of the competition.

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The United States have been handed a tough draw in their 2022 World Cup group in Qatar in their bid to reach the knockout stage of the competition. Team USA are set to face off against England, Iran and either Scotland, Wales or Ukraine for the top two spots in Group B. England have been outstanding in recent tournaments of late, reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and finishing as runners-up at Euro 2020.

Meanwhile, the likes of Scotland, Wales, and Ukraine all have talented players, with Wales boasting a fearsome reputation as a big-game team, notably from their exploits at Euro 2016. Iran cannot afford to be taken lightly either after a brilliant run in their qualifying campaign, while their ranks include Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi, and Karim Ansarifard, who will be hungry to make an impact. The States had to battle their way through the qualifying campaign, finishing behind Mexico and Canada in CONCACAF.

It is telling that the USMNT are backed at +10000 to win the World Cup, placing them alongside Poland and Mexico in the betting odds. Therefore, any wager on Gregg Berhalter’s team should be used with caution, although new customers with DraftKings may line up an outside bet with their welcome offer featuring a free bet, reducing the risk of losing their stake when wagering on the States. There could be hope for a run similar to that of 2002 when the Stars and Stripes progressed to the quarter-finals of the competition, only to lose at the hands of Germany.

In 2006 and 2010, the USMNT punched above their weight, including finishing above England in the group stage in South Africa after drawing 1-1 with Fabio Capello's men. The Three Lions are unlikely to make the same mistake twice to give themselves a tougher opponent in the round of 16 once more, while Iran and the fortunate team to advance from the final UEFA qualifier will present a dangerous battle for the USA to secure the second spot.

The States do have a lot of talent on the rise, notably Christian Pulisic, who is slowly developing into a key player for Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel. He has had a difficult time with injuries over the last year, but has gradually worked his way into form and will be the key man for Berhalter in the final third. Giovanni Reyna, son of Claudio, will also be integral even though he too has had fitness problems. The same could be said of Brenden Aaronson and Weston McKennie, while Barcelona’s Sergino Dest has joined his teammates on the sideline.

The USA does have a lot of talented players in their early twenties, but keeping them on the field in peak physical form has been difficult. Berhalter has gone through a number of players in his recent squads, and he will face a massive challenge to know his best team by the end of the year. The 2022 World Cup could be a story of one tournament too soon for the up-and-coming players in the USMNT squad, but it may also provide a vital learning opportunity for 2026 and beyond. There is a chance they will at least match their performances of 2010 and 2014 by reaching the Round of 16, and who knows what that could lead to given the number of shocks that have occurred in the World Cup of late.

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