FIFA World Cup 2022 Group B: What to expect with England and USA in pool

Wales will face the winner of Scotland vs Ukraine, scheduled in June. The winner of that match (Wales vs Scotland/Ukraine) will be the final entrant of Group B.

England's Harry Kane will be one of the main attractions of the FIFA World Cup 2022.   -  REUTERS

FIFA World Cup 2022 Group B has clear cut favourites in England and USA, who have been drawn along with Iran. The fourth entrant will be decided after the European playoffs.

Three are three teams with the potential chance for qualification- Wales, Scotland and Ukraine. Wales will face the winner of Scotland vs Ukraine, scheduled in June. The winner of that match (Wales vs Scotland/Ukraine) will be the final entrant of Group B.

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Here is a look at the teams in Group B and how they stack up at this point as they gear up for Qatar 2022.

England

Gareth Southgate’s England will open its campaign against Iran, where the Three Lions will be the favourites to win.  

England enjoyed an undefeated qualifying campaign to the World Cup, which extended their run of matches without defeat in World Cup qualifying to 31 consecutive games. The country qualified for the World Cup after topping UEFA Group I. 

England has never had a dearth of talent in recent editions of the World Cup and it is no different story ahead of Qatar 2022. Boasting world-class players like Harry Kane, Jack Grealish, Declan Rice, Trent Alexander-Arnold, John Stones and Kyle Walker, England will be one of the contenders to win the title even though it won its last and only title way back in 1966.

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England beat West Germany 4-2 in the finals of the 1966 FIFA World Cup Championship at Wembley Stadium, London. England captian holds the Jule Rimet Trophy aloft.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

 

The team also has the chance to hit the milestone of scoring its 100th goal in the World Cup, with its current tally at 91. 

Manager: Gareth Southgate

England’s World Cup record —

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Iran

Iran will be making its third successive appearance in the World Cup and its sixth overall after making its debuti in 1978. It will play its opening fixture against England. 

Dragan Skocic’s team had a solid qualifying campaign where they won 14 out of the 18 matches they played. It qualified for the World Cup after winning the AFC Third Round Group A. 

Players like Sardar Azmoun and Alireza Jahanbaksh will be looking to spearhead the forward line while Majid Hosseini will undertake the responsibility of stabilising the backline.

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Iran has never made it out of the group stage in its World Cup history. However, in 2018, the team recorded its highest ever points tally (4) after securing a 1-0 win against Morocco (only second win in World cup history after a 2-1 win against the USA in 1998) and a 1-1 draw against Portugal. 

Manager: Dragon Skocic

Iran’s World Cup record —

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USA

The USA will be making its 11th appearance in the World Cup. Making its first appearance in 1930, when it reached the semifinals, it enjoyed participation in seven successive editions from 1990 to 2014 but the run ended when it failed to qualify for Russia 2018. 

USA qualified for Qatar 2022 after placing third in the CONCACAF Third Round of qualification. It managed to win seven of the 14 matches it played, drawing four and losing three.

USA, despite not being one of the favourites to win the tournament, definitely has the players to make it past the group stage. With the likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston Mckenny, Giovanni Reyna and Sergino Dest, it can upset some of the big names in the World Cup.

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Christian Pulisic will be an important player for the USA National team in the World Cup.   -  AFP

 

The country has failed to find the net in only one of their last ten World Cup matches. The only team who managed to keep a clean sheet against the USA was Germany, which claimed a 1-0 victory when the two nations met in the group stage at Brazil 2014.

Manager: Gregg Berhalter

USA’s World Cup record —

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Wales/Scotland/Ukraine

Wales: Wales has not contested the World Cup finals since 1958. It is just one match away from entering the biggest competition in football but it has still one match to play. If it wins the play-off match against Scotland/Ukraine in June, it would enter the World Cup after a long gap of 64 years.

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Wales boasts some impressive names like Gareth Bale, Daniel James and Aaron Ramsay in its squad. Bale, who has been absent for his club Real Madrid, has shown contrasting form for his national team with his most recent goal coming against Austria on March 24. 

Manager: Ryan Giggs

Wales' World Cup record

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Scotland

Scotland has appeared eight times in the World Cup finals including consecutive participation for five editions from 1974 to 1990. It has never qualified beyond the group stage but has been knocked out due to goal difference on three occasions (By Brazil in 1974, the Netherlands in 1978, and the Soviets in 1982).

It has names like Andrew Robertson, Scott Mctominay, Kieran Tierney, Billy Gilmour and Charlie Adams who will look to help their team when they will play Ukraine in June (date to be confirmed). 

Manager: Steve Clarke

Scotland's World Cup record —

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Ukraine: Ukraine has contested the World Cup finals just once in 2006. It was the country’s first appearance at the finals after it broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991.

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Ukraine’s qualification to Qatar hinges on two matches. It needs to defeat Scotland and then beat Wales to gain entry. With players like Oleksander Zinchenko, Andriy Yarmalenko and Roman Yaremchuk, it will be favourites in its match against Scotland. On paper, it is most likely to beat Scotland and Wales and qualify for the World Cup. 

Manager: Oleksandr Petrakov

Ukraine's's World Cup record —

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Here's the full list of FIFA World Cup 2022 Group B fixtures and timings (IST)

MatchDateFixturesTimeVenue
1November 21England vs Iran6:30 pmAl Thumama Stadium
2November 22USA vs Wales/Scotland/Ukraine00:30 amAl Rayyan Stadium
3November 25England vs USA3.30 pmAl Bayt Stadium
4November 25Wales/Scotland/Ukraine vs Iran9:30 pmKhalifa International Stadium
5November 29Wales/Scotland/Ukraine vs England6:30 pmAl Thumama Stadium
6November 30Iran vs USA00:30 amAl Rayyan Stadium

 

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