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Want to follow Wales at the World Cup but not a football fan? Your complete guide!

  • England, Iran, Wales and the United States form Group B at the 2022 World Cup 
  • England are one of the favourites to win it all at next month’s tournament 
  • Iran are considered by many to dwell in the doldrums but could provide a shock 
  • Wales and USMNT may battle it out for second in a fiercely contested contest 

At the 2022 World Cup, Group B looks like it will be one of the most interesting.

When the four teams play each other in less than a month, there will be a lot to learn about each of them.

Even though they had a pretty bad run leading up to Qatar, England is still the clear favourite to get out of the group stage.

Iran is back at the World Cup for the third time in a row after a strong showing in Russia in 2018.

Also, Wales is back on the world stage for the first time since 1958, and Gareth Bale is ready to be the spark that makes more history.

The US, on the other hand, is under a lot of pressure, especially from coach Gregg Berhalter, because they need to do well before hosting the World Cup in 2026.

England

Who’s the manager? 

As with every English manager, Gareth Southgate goes into the World Cup with a lot of pressure. The longtime England coach feels like he has to win a trophy or lose his job.

People have talked a lot about Southgate’s time in charge, which has included getting to the semi-finals of the last World Cup and the final of Euro 2020.

England has been outplayed and outthought both times, even though they were lucky enough to get simple draws.

Southgate’s current deal with the English FA runs out at the end of 2024, so he doesn’t need to sign a new one right away. We won’t know if he is as sure of his position until after the tournament. 

Who’s the star man? 

Harry Kane is not only England’s most important player, but also its leader and mascot.

Most likely, the Three Lions will go as far as Harry Kane can score goals.

Kane, who is 29 years old, can play deep and help his teammates, but he has always been at the forefront of England’s success.

In Russia, the Tottenham striker won the golden boot, and he will try to be in the mix again.

Maybe the striker’s firepower won’t be as important in the group stage, but if they want to go further than they did in Russia, it could be worth a lot after that.

How did they qualify?

As they often do lately, England breezed through qualifying.

Southgate’s team won eight of their 10 qualifying games. Hungary and Poland were the only games they tied.

In November, England beat San Marino 10-0. It was the first time since 1964 that England scored more than 10 goals.

Fixtures

On paper, England’s first game against Iran on November 21 looks to be the easiest in the group. This should give Southgate’s team a chance to get going.

From there, they will play their second and most important game against the US on November 25. Since they played each other in 2010 and tied 1-1, England will know what to expect from their rivals from the other side of the ocean.

Depending on how the other games go, the final group game on November 29 against Wales could be a top-spot decider or a meaningless draw.

Tournament history

England has only won the World Cup once, in 1966. Since then, they haven’t had much luck.

At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they came in fourth after losing the third-place play-off to Belgium 2-0.

Since the 1990 World Cup in Italy, England had not been this close since then.

Steps backward in Qatar could very well set off alarm bells in Southgate.

Odds to win – 7/1

United States 

Who’s the manager? 

Gregg Berhalter is under a lot of pressure from the outside because the USMNT’s defensive strategies and lacklustre performances in the lead-up to the World Cup have grown old with fans and experts.

He took over as USMNT coach in 2018, coming from the MLS team Columbus Crew. At the time, the US had just lost a humiliating game to Trinidad and Tobago, 2-1, which ended their chances of making the 2018 World Cup.

The 49-year-old played for the US at the World Cups in 2002 and 2008.

Who’s the star man?   

Christian Pulisic is without a doubt the face of US soccer, and if the US wants to make it out of the group stage, they will need his creative skills.

Even though the 24-year-old didn’t have the best Premier League season at Chelsea, he will need to have gotten over any rust before the first game. This is a huge chance for the U.S.

How did they qualify? 

During World Cup qualifying, the US wasn’t always the best team, especially when they were away from home.

Even though Berhalter’s team was able to get the last automatic spot in CONCACAF after Canada and Mexico, they didn’t get their ticket to Qatar until their penultimate game against Panama.

Fixtures 

Since England is expected to win the group, the USMNT’s first game on November 21 against Wales will likely decide who comes in second.

From there, Berhalter’s team will play England on November 25. On November 29, they will play Iran to finish the group.

Tournament history 

The US hasn’t been to a World Cup since 2010, when they played England in South Africa and tied 1-1.

Their best finish was third at Uruguay 1930, which was a long time ago.

Berhalter was on the team in 2002, when they made it to the quarterfinals. This is their best finish since then, but if they want to do it again, they will have to beat England and Wales in the group stage.

Odds to win – 100/1

Wales 

Who’s the manager? 

After Ryan Giggs quit in June, the job was given full-time to Rob Page.

Page deserved it after getting Wales to the World Cup for the first time in 64 years. He got a four-year contract because of it.

Page used to work with Giggs as his assistant. Before that, he was his country’s U21 coach.

Over the course of 10 years, the 48-year-old played for the Dragons 41 times.

Who’s the star man?    

Gareth Bale, without a doubt. The player who used to play for Real Madrid and now plays for LAFC has been Wales’ shining star for a long time.

Even though the best part of Bale’s career is behind him, he is often more than able to produce magical moments that push his country to a level that was not expected.

The 33-year-old scored twice in their 2-1 win over Austria in the World Cup qualifying semi-final and set up the game-winning goal against Ukraine, which sent them to Qatar. 

How did they qualify? 

Wales got into the World Cup at the last minute. They were the last European team to qualify after beating Ukraine 1-0 in a play-off.

The Dragons only lost once during qualifying, to Belgium by a score of 3-1. Because of this, they had to take the play-off route.

Fixtures

In the same way, the USMNT’s first game against Wales is huge for moving forward.

After that match, on November 21, they will play a second group game against Iran on November 25. On November 29, they will play England in the Battle of Britain. 

Tournament history 

Wales doesn’t have as much experience as their British neighbours at the most important tournament on the planet. This will only be their second time at the World Cup.

Wales made it to the quarterfinals of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. If anything comes close to that, the country will go crazy.

Odds to win – 150/1

Iran 

Who’s the manager? 

Carlos Queiroz will be on the Iranian touchline but he was not there during World Cup qualifiers. It will be his third World Cup with the Middle-Eastern nation.

Iran fired his predecessor, Dragan Skocic, in July after reports of ill-discipline emerged in a training camp in Qatar. 

Queiroz – Iran’s longest serving coach – returned to the position he first held in 2011 in September. The Mexican was famously Sir Alex Ferguson’s No. 2 at Manchester United during 2002-03 and 2004-08. 

Who’s the star man?    

Sardar Azmoun is expected to have the weight of Iran’s campaign on his broad shoulders. 

Before Newcastle signed Alexander Isak, Azmoun was reportedly a target for the Toon in January. 

The 27-year-old has only made eight appearances for Bundesliga side, Bayer Leverkusen, this season and is yet to score. 

Though he hasn’t shown it this season, he is an impressive finisher, and with chances likely to be scarce, it will be critical he takes them.

How did they qualify? 

Iran topped Group A, ahead of South Korea, to claim one of four automatic qualifying spots available to Asian nations. 

Iran qualified for Qatar after eight wins, one draw and a loss from 10 games. 

Despite opposition including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, Iran had impressive spells – conceding just four goals while scoring 14.  

Fixtures

Massively unfancied in the group – and out at 500/1 to win it all – Iran would make a real statement of intent if they can upset England in their November 21 opener. 

From there they take on Wales four days later before rounding out Group B against the US on November 29.  

Tournament history 

Iran have found themselves at the World Cup more often than you may think. 

The nation has made five appearances prior to Qatar, making it three appearances in 12 years. 

Despite a willing showing in Russia particularly, Iran have never made it past the group stage of the tournament. 

Odds to win – 500/1

Group B Fixtures

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