Doha, Qatar. The anxiety that has built up for the United States Men’s National Team is easy to feel. Much of this anxiety is due to the U.S. missing the World Cup in 2018 after a hugely disappointing loss on the last day of qualifying.
Former Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter will lead the Americans into the 2022 World Cup this fall, however. Through the qualification process, the U.S. has fielded the youngest team in CONCACAF with an average age below 24. Only one player that played in the qualification process, Deandre Yedlin, was at the 2014 World Cup. He came off the bench against Portugal, Germany and Belgium.
The draw for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar took place on Friday with 32 teams selected into eight groups of four. The teams were assigned to different pots based on their FIFA world rankings with the U.S. ranked in pot 2. No group could have more than two European nations or two nations from other regions.
Berhalter’s men will take on England, Iran and the winner of the European Playoffs between Wales and Scotland or Ukraine. This is a difficult group, but the Americans should have a good chance of advancing to the knockout rounds.
The big match against England will be on Nov. 25, facing the likes of Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Mason Mount, a teammate of Christian Pulisic at Chelsea. The Red, White and Blue will take on the winner of Wales vs. Scotland or Ukraine to begin their World Cup campaign on Nov. 21. The last game in the group stage for the U.S. will be against Iran on Nov. 29. Iran’s star player is forward Sardar Azmoun, who has scored 40 goals for his country. Azmoun recently transferred to Bayer Leverkusen from Zenit Saint Petersburg where he scored 52 goals.
The European playoff game between Wales and the winner of Scotland and Ukraine has been delayed due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The winner of this game will bring plenty of interest as a rival of England or a feel-good team in Ukraine will enter the group. Will the United States see Gareth Bale’s Wales, Scotland, or will Ukraine find a way to make it to the World Cup amidst a tragic war? This will be a fun group to watch.
2022 FIFA World Cup groups (FIFA world rankings)
Wales (18) or the winner of Scotland (39) vs Ukraine (27)
Saudi Arabia (49)
Winner of UAE (68) or Australia (42) v Peru (22)
Winner of Costa Rica (31) v New Zealand (101)
Korea Republic (29)